Amnesty: Cameroon Must Free Men Detained for Being Gay

 

Amnesty International is calling on the authorities in Cameroon to immediately release two men due to stand trial on 18 August for homosexuality.

A 19-year-old known as Jonas and a 20-year-old known as Francky were arrested on 25 July in a car outside a night club in Yaunda in the Cameroonian capital and charged under Section 347a of the Cameroonian Penal Code which criminalizes same-sex sexual acts. They are being held at Yauunda’s Kondengui central prison.

From the Amnesty International news item:

“Given the high level of officially sanctioned homophobia in Cameroon, those arrested under this law are at risk of attack or other forms of ill-treatment by fellow prisoners, or by prison authorities, because of their alleged sexual orientation.” said Erwin Van Der Borght, Amnesty International’s Africa Programme Director.

“Cameroon should repeal this draconian law. By arresting people purely because of their alleged sexual orientation, the Cameroonian government is flagrantly violating international human rights treaties which it has signed or ratified.”

[...]

“Detentions under the law appeared to have dropped in recent years, following a peak of arrests in 2005-6.” said Erwin Van Der Borght. “But over the past few months, such arrests appear to be on the rise again. We urge the Cameroonian authorities to rethink this discriminatory legislation and comply with their obligations under international human rights law.”

If Jonas and Francky are found guilty they face five years in prison. This is one in a series of recent cases where young men have been arrested under Section 347a.

Readers may remember the story of Jean-Claude Roger Mbede who in recent months was arrested and sentenced to prison over text messages he sent a same-sex acquaintance that were seen by the police. He must now serve three years incarceration for homosexuality and attempted homosexuality in Kondengui central prison where, Amnesty International has warned, he will face the constant threat of homophobic attacks. You can read more about his story here.

In 2010 human rights group Human Rights Watch issued a report showing evidence that the criminal justice system in Cameroon is engaging in numerous fundamental rights violations where the country’s LGB citizens are concerned. The report demonstrated that authorities have engaged in arbitrary detentions without proper adherence to due process and continue to sentence people under 347a without proper evidence. In short, the report said, homosexuals were not being prosecuted for crimes but were effectively being targeted for their identities.

Amnesty International joins Human Rights Watch and several other human rights groups in calling on Cameroon’s government to release citizens detained or imprisoned for being gay and to stress that Section 347a must be repealed.

Related Reading:

Ghanaian Church Aims to Pray Away the Gay

International LGBT Rights Group Awarded UN Accreditation

U.N. Approves Resolution Against Anti-Gay Discrimination


Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to Tarter Time Photography.

22 comments

Rocio Manzano Guerrero

PETITION: theres no petition directly related to this story, but theres a similar one here: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/being-gay-is-not-a-crime-free-jean-claude-roger-mbede/?z00m=19991005
hope it helps

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Raven S.
Katja S7 years ago

I find it disgusting that anyone can be imprisoned purely because of something as private as their sexual orientation. Homosexuality is not the same as paedophilia, and should not be confused with it. Yes, you can get homosexual paedophiles, but you get paedophiles in all walks of life. Homosexual people feel the same love in their relationships as heterosexuals and no-one should be denied the basic human right of being able to love.
What happens between two (or more) consenting ADULTS is of no concern to the rest of society.

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dawn w.
Dawn W7 years ago

I thought there would be a petition.

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Jane H.
Jane H7 years ago

Oh, golly, this breaks my heart--as either of those men could be my own son. Thanks so much to the human rights groups who are calling for an end to it.

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Robert O.
Robert O7 years ago

Sadly Cameroon (and almost all countries in Africa) have dismal human rights records in every way conceivable so this is no surprise. But it's still very upsetting and discouraging. Free them now! Thanks Steve.

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K s Goh
KS Goh7 years ago

Thanks for the article.

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Winn Adams
Winn Adams7 years ago

So very sad.

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Cathy C.
Cathy C7 years ago

FRANCKY SAY RELAX those anti gay laws!!!

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Sharon H.
Sharon H7 years ago

This is off topic and I'm going to post it on every thread today, but several people have told me that they have quit getting the daily Care2 news via their emails. It seems that it's affecting quite a few. My suggestion to them was to subscribe again because that's what I had to do awhile back when it happened to me. If it's happening to a lot of people, we might have to notify the C2 staff so that they're aware of yet another glitch.

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Sue Horwood
.7 years ago

Wish there was a petition to sign, It amazes me that in light of medical research published that proves gay peoples brains work differently that some people still believe being gay is a choice. When will this world get educated?

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