Dick Jefferson, the American victim of a brutal gay bashing last week in the Caribbean island of St. Maarten, is returning to meet government officials and appeal to the people of St. Maarten for justice.

“I am heading back,” Jefferson says, “because the longer this case goes unsolved the more harm the people of St. Maarten are inflicting upon themselves and the reputation of the island as a vacation spot.”

Friday, April 14, will be eight days since several men, believed to be St. Maarten residents first attempted to run over Jefferson and his travel companions with their car, and, failing the attempted vehicular manslaughter, proceeded to jump out of the vehicle and with deadly force assaulted Jefferson with a tire wrench, and then turned their hate on Ryan Smith.

The blows crushed the skulls of both men, who were airlifted off the island last Thursday for treatment at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida, where Ryan Smith remains hospitalized with brain damage. The attackers have not yet been found.

Jefferson is returning to the island for two reasons: First, to thank those residents who came to his rescue. And second, and more important, to remind the residents of both the Dutch and French side of the island that justice exists not only for victims of a crime, but for all society.

“The only people who can solve this crime are the people of the island,” says Jefferson. Police depend on the citizens they serve, and justice will only be achieved when residents realize that hiding vicious criminals will only cause further damage to the island’s reputation.”

Joe Solmonese, President of the Human Rights Campaign, the United State’s largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, sent a letter earlier this week to the Dutch Ambassador to the United States expressing his concern about the way the investigation was preceding thus far.

“Hate crimes are a devastating reality that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people face all too often,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “And these crimes of hate are used as weapons to terrorize an entire community of people.”

The crime is a hate crime because, shortly before the beatings, the assailants harassed Smith and his boyfriend, Justin Swensen inside a nearby club, Bamboo Bernies. The suspects taunted Smith and Swensen with local slang for “faggot” and at one point threatened to hit Swensen with a chair.

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