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Police in Tonga investigate the death of one of the country’s leading LGBTQ+ activists after finding his body near his home.

Police found Polikalepo Kefu’s body on a beach near his home in Tongatapu, Tonga’s main island, on 1 May. Kefu, 41, was President of Tonga Leitis Association – an organisation dedicated to the country’s LGBTQ+ society. The victim provided support services, gay rights advocacy, and education on HIV-Aids.

According to Tongan police, “Police have charged a 27-year-old man from Fungamisi Vavau”. The suspect surrendered himself to police the night of the murder. However, Tonga Police declined to comment whether the motivation of the murder is a hate crime.

According to the Tonga Leitis Association, Kefu  “was a selfless humanitarian and a tireless advocate for the rights of those with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions”. Also, the victim was greatly valued in a country where cross-dressing and sodomy are still considered criminal acts.

A candlelight vigil will occur on May 6 in Tonga. However,  the public can follow along on the Broadcomfm Broadcasting Facebook page.

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