Cameroon Court Jails 3 Gay Men


Three Cameroonian men that were arrested in July have been sentenced to five years in prison for gay sex, their lawyer told reporters Wednesday.

According to reports the three men sentenced Tuesday face a 5 year jail term and a fine of 200,000 CFA francs (about $400, £260). This is said to be the heaviest sentence that could have been meted out under Cameroon’s current law.

From the AFP:

A court in Yaounde has sentenced three Cameroonian men arrested in July to five years in prison for engaging in gay sex, their lawyer said Wednesday.

The Ekounou court sentenced the three on Tuesday to five years imprisonment and a fine, the heaviest sentence provided by Cameroonian law, which bans homosexuality, Michel Togue told AFP.

Two of the convicted men were present for the ruling but the third was sentenced in absentia, said Togue, who added he had appealed the decision.

“It’s a bad ruling because it is a blatant violation of the law,” the lawyer said, citing procedural technicalities when the guilty verdict was handed down.

He also accused the judge of peppering the hearing with homophobic innuendos.

More from the BBC:

The two men who were in court were denied bail in August. The third defendant was granted bail after their arrest in July and never appeared in court for the trial.

Ms Nkom, who runs Cameroon’s Association for the Defence of Homosexuals, told the BBC in August that there was no evidence against the men and they had been arrested because they looked feminine and their hair was “dressed like women”.

“This is a crime of fashion, not homosexuality,” she had said.

This is the latest in a series of convictions under Section 347a of the country’s penal code, a provision that criminalizes same-sex sexual relations. Indeed, the report goes on to note that a further 4 men were remanded in custody in August. They were charged with indecent behavior relating to same-sex sexual conduct. However, their lawyer has called the charges a set-up.

Readers may also remember the story of Jean-Claude Roger Mbede who was arrested earlier this year and received a prison sentence over text messages he sent a same-sex acquaintance that were later 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. The report demonstrated that authorities have engaged in arbitrary detentions without proper adherence to due process, and that authorities continue to sentence people under 347a without proper evidence. In short, the report said, LGBs were not being prosecuted for actual crimes but were effectively being targeted for their identities.

Concern deepens with the news that Cameroon is in fact preparing to strengthen its anti-gay laws.

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and a number of other human rights groups have called on the Cameroonian government to release citizens detained or imprisoned for being gay and to repeal Section 347a.

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 brainchildvn.


Ernest R.
Ernest R6 years ago

@ Christy A “at the rate things are going, humankind will pretty much be extinct by the end of the 21st century” That is certainly the way it looks to me.. That’s my prediction.

sherry l.
sherry luciano6 years ago

Treatment like this to people should stop.The Witch trails of Salem but in another country

Magdalena K.
Past Member 6 years ago

this world needs more tolerance and acceptance of the differences of others

Magdalena K.
Past Member 6 years ago

what is wrong with being gay ? nothing

John Duqesa
Past Member 6 years ago

Ah Christy A. But that is the business of religion, to force others to do as they say - but often not what they do!

Norma V.
Norma Villarreal6 years ago

Homophobia rules....sigh

Christy A.
Christy Elamma6 years ago

I am so sick of all the homophobic fear and prejudice in the world. Thoroughly disgusts me. Live and let live, let people love whom they want, its no one's business but their own. Keep your religious views to yourself in your own home, you have no right to try and force them on anyone else. Honestly, with all the homophobic BS I see happening in the world, I really do not see humankind evolving, but devolving. Of course, with the way we are destroying the planet, it maybe a moot point anyway, as at the rate things are going, humankind will pretty much be extinct by the end of the 21st century.

Joe R.
Joe R6 years ago

Oh Africa!!!

John Duqesa
Past Member 6 years ago

Yasser K

You say:--

"if u have a son u will be happy if he became a gay?????
ask your self and then told other to protect gays or not..."

Yes, I'd be perfectly happy.

"if u have a girl and she married a man and at last your girl know that he was a gay
what u will do then ....?"

What would I do? Nothing. Why should I do anything? The matter, distressing as it might be, would be between my girl, as you put it and her husband. And Yasser, think for a moment. Why might that gay man have married my "girl"? It's because of bigotted people like yourself who engender feelings of shame and inadequacy in gay people such that sometimes they feel they have to marry even though this is not their preference.

John Duqesa
Past Member 6 years ago

Chris C

You say:--

"!Okay here is what all the rich first world countries should do, and it is easy. In these tight economic times when the financial state of many first world countries, well to be polite up the creek without a paddle, stop the aid...economic, intellectual, medical, social...!!!!!!!"

Right, so for an infraction of human rights in a small number of cases mentioned here (amongst other clear violations in other spheres) you would wish to "punish" the entire population of the country. There are times and places for sanctions, which should only be applied when civil society in the country concerned calls for them. This is not such a case.