The Zimbabwean man who killed a Moroccan diplomat in Pretoria has justified the murder on the basis of his hatred of gay people, inspired by President Robert Mugabe.
Nigel Kahari, 21, has admitted to stabbing Fatmi Noureddine 42 times with a knife at the Waterkloof guest house on 6 October 2014.
Kahari was late last year convicted of Noureddine’s murder, as well as theft and being in the country illegally. On Wednesday, a pre-sentencing hearing was held in the Pretoria High Court.
According to Pretoria News, the two met while Kahari worked at a supermarket. They became friends and began to socialise.
Kahari told a social worker that on the night of the murder the diplomat invited him to a function but when he arrived at the guest house it was just the two of them.
They drank and then Noureddine suggested he take a shower. Kahari claimed that he became “uncomfortable” when the other man looked at his naked body.
The murderer said that they continued to drink and eat and that he started feeling drowsy. He claimed that when he woke up he was naked next to Noureddine and believed that he had been raped, although he did not know if this actually happened.
After panicking, he apparently found the door locked, with Noureddine refusing to open it. Kahari said that he grabbed a knife and proceeded to repeatedly stab the other man in an uncontrollable rage because of the thought of them having had sex.
This is known as a “gay panic defence”, usually used against charges of assault or murder, in which the accused claims that the victim’s sexuality or romantic or sexual advances caused him or her to go into a state of violent temporary insanity.
Kahari claimed that Noureddine tried to strangle him with an electric cord during the ensuing struggle and so he continued to stab him until he stopped.
Bizarrely, Kahari then went on to take pictures of the dead man’s buttocks with his phone. He also stole various items and almost R10,000 in cash before leaving.
Kahari told the court that while he was sorry for his actions, he grew up in Zimbabwe were he was taught to hate gay people. He also commented that “his president”, Robert Mugabe, viewed gay people as “worse than pigs and dogs.”
Zimbabwe Daily reported last year that Judge Mohamed Ismail pointed out during his judgement that Kahari’s accounts of the incident had been inconsistent and contradictory and that he offered three versions of what took place that night.
The judge also questioned Kahari’s explanation that he took the pictures of the deceased to show to a friend, named Future, who had been approached sexually by another man, to ask if it might have been Noureddine.
“His explanation was that it was in order for Future to see if he recognised the person. However, when carefully scrutinising the photograph, one notices the rear figure of the deceased and the face is not exposed to the camera’s lens as he is lying face down. This explanation of taking the photograph after the incident, is with the utmost respect, nonsensical and factious. The accused made a poor impression when he testified,” the judge said during the judgement.
Gay sex and public affection are illegal in Zimbabwe, with penalties of up to three years in jail. Same-sex marriage is also illegal, as entrenched in the country’s Constitution.
President Mugabe has railed against LGBT people for decades as “worse than pigs and dogs” and has insisted that they “don’t have any human rights at all.” In September 2015, Mugabe lashed out LGBT people at the UN General Assembly. He stated that LGBT rights are “contrary to our values, norms, traditions, and beliefs,” defiantly telling world leaders, “We are not gays!”
Kahari will be sentenced by the Pretoria High Court on Friday.