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Award-winning homophobe Margaret Court throws her support behind a regime known for torturing queer people

Lily Wakefield March 3, 2020
Margaret Court

Margaret Court with the first lady of Burundi Denise Bucumi at the opening of the consulate. (Victory Life Centre/ Facebook)

Homophobe and tennis champion Margaret Court is now the honorary consul of the African republic of Burundi, where LGBT+ people have been tortured and queer children are expelled.

Court has previously called homosexuality an “abominable sexual practice”, likened gay people to Hitler, claimed lesbian tennis players “recruit” younger athletes, and suggested transgender children are “of the devil”. She was named Homophobe of the Year in 2018 by GLORIAs for her dedication to homophobia.

It has now been revealed that she and her Pentecostal church have opened a consulate in Australia for Burundi, which has been accused of crimes against humanity, and the office has even been approved by the Australian federal government. 

It was formally opened in July, 2019, by Denise Bucumi, Burundi’s first lady. The country’s president, Pierre Nkurunziza, could not attend because if he leaves Burundi, he risks being arrested by the International Criminal Court.

Court, of course, led a prayer at the event in which she called for the “bridging of two nations”. Her husband Barry, who is the second honorary consul, insisted: “The place has changed a lot.”

According to Yahoo, a spokesperson for Survivors and Victims of the Burundi Dictatorship said: “It is very concerning that a famous Australian lady would host and support a regime which kills people, discriminates against LGBTI people, and uses rape as a weapon.”

Margaret Court is now honorary consul to a country accused of “crimes against humanity”.

The Burundi government made consensual gay sex illegal in 2009, when it secretly signed a ban into law.

Homosexuality is still punishable in the country by up to two years imprisonment.

Victims are being held in prison and asked to pay large bribes for their freedom, which many of them cannot afford.

The African country was one of 13 – including the US – to vote against a UN motion in 2017 which moved to condemned the death penalty for homosexuality.

As of June 2011, students can be expelled from school if they are suspected of being LGBT+ and a 2012 UN Human Right Council report found that one teenager was “tied to a pole” for hours as punishment for being gay.

According to Human Rights Watch, president Nkurunziza and his regime have targeted anyone they perceive to oppose them with “numerous killings, disappearances, abductions, acts of torture, rapes, and arbitrary arrests”.

In September 2017, a UN Commission of Inquiry said it had “reasonable grounds to believe that crimes against humanity have been committed in Burundi since April 2015”.

More: Burundi, Crimes Against Humanity, margaret court, Pentecostal Church, Pierre Nkurunziza, tennis

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