On the anniversary of his execution, Helen Rivron recalls the homophobic campaign that many believe prevented his reprieve

Wednesday, 3 August, marks the 106th anniversary of an often neglected landmark in queer history – the execution of Roger Casement after a vindictive homophobic campaign to prevent a reprieve.

Roger Casement was one of the great anti-colonialists, human rights advocates and defenders of Indigenous peoples of his or any other era. His investigation into the crimes against humanity in the Congo Free State (the present-day Democratic Republic of the Congo) in 1903 began the process of Leopold II of Belgium surrendering his empire. Similarly, his investigation in the Amazon basin in 1910 exposed ethnocide against Indigenous peoples which, although not on the same scale, “Represented a far older, more enduring and more fatal wrong to humanity”, as he wrote in his Amazon Journal.

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