Banton Charged With Assault

Reggae singer Buju Banton was charged September 21st with assault for his alleged role in an attack against a group of gay men in Kingston, Jamaica, last year.

Banton pleaded not guilty to one count of assault in Kingston’s Half Way Tree Resident Magistrate’s Court, a court statement said. He was freed on bail and ordered to reappear in court September 30th.

The singer is accused of participating in a June 24th, 2004, attack in which several men burst into a house in Kingston and beat six men whom they believed were gay. The victims reported their attackers yelled anti-gay slurs during the assault, according to Amnesty International, citing information received from other human rights groups.

Banton has denied the accusation.

Gay rights groups in the U.S. and Europe have criticized the singer for inciting violence against gays within his songs. Banton’s 1994 hit “Boom Bye Bye” includes a lyric that calls from burning homosexuals.