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Texas politician calls for inquest into gay sailor’s death

Jessica Geen July 13, 2009
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US representative Sheila Jackson Lee has called for an inquest into the “bizarre” death of sailor August Provost.

Provost, 29, of Houston, was found dead earlier this month at Camp Pendleton in Southern California. He had been shot and his body had been burned.

He had complained to his family of being harassed by another person. They believe he may have been targeted because of his sexual orientation, despite keeping his personal life private.

However, it has been noted that the sailor may have been unable to report the bullying if it was motivated by homophobia, as the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ rule prohibits openly gay personnel from serving in the US military.

“I am requesting a full investigation into the murder,” Jackson Lee said yesterday. “This death appears bizarre, and more facts need to be uncovered.”

According to the Houston Chronicle, she added: “I’m asking for a system-wide investigation, to see whether these acts are being tolerated in our military. I’m appalled and outraged at the lack of facts that have been given to this family.”

Provost’s mother, Melanie Provost, said the military had told her that her son had been found unconscious in the guard shack and later died.

“The only way I found out my son had been shot and burned was on TV,” she said.

“If he was being harassed, why was the bad behavior being covered up? Why was the person still there?”

Navy officials said earlier this month that another sailor had been linked to the murder through physical evidence and his own statement. He is now in custody and co-operating with authorities.

Navy spokesman Captain Matt Brown said that, as yet, there was no information to suggest the killing was a hate crime.

Related topics: Americas

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