Latoya Nugent of the Tambourine Army, a group that campaigns against gender-based violence, was charged with breaching the Cybercrimes Act.
The co-founder of a new organisation that campaigns against gender-based violence in Jamaica has been arrested after posting the names of alleged sexual predators on social media.
Latoya Nugent, a prominent LGBT activist and co-founder of the Tambourine Army, was arrested late on Monday and charged with three counts of breaching the country’s Cybercrimes Act.
Jamaica constabulary force communications officer Stephanie Lindsay said Nugent was charged specifically with using a computer for malicious intent.
“She posted information on social media reportedly maligning several individuals as sexual predators,” Lindsay said.
Nugent’s arrest came just days after she helped organise the country’s first major protest against sexual abuse. Her group, Tambourine Army, has urged survivors of sexual abuse to reveal the name of their attackers.
Her supporters say Nugent’s detention represents a threat to freedom of speech and have started a GoFundMe campaign for her legal expenses.
Nugent was due to attend a bail hearing on the morning of 15 March but fell ill overnight and did not appear in court.
Nadeen Spence, co-founder of Tambourine Army, said Nugent lost consciousness and experienced five seizures, and that she was denied access to her personal doctor.
Jamaica’s 2015 Cybercrimes Act is a wide-ranging piece of legislation that covers a range of offences, including revenge porn and internet trolling.
Annie Paul, a newspaper column writer and commentator from Kingston, described the law as a “menace to civil society and democracy”.
“[Putting] these sweeping powers in the hands of a police force that is under scrutiny for numerous instances of extra-judicial killings is a reckless step on the part of the Jamaican government. We need to ensure that the act is reviewed and revised to enhance freedom of speech rather than kerb it.”