CAMEROON – 06 November 2009: Cameroonian LGBTI activist and Deputy President of the Association pour la Défense de l’Homosexualité (ADEFHO), Sébastien Mandeng was allegedly a victim of homophobic slurs and discrimination in the hands of Douala police station officials on Saturday 31 October, following an altercation with a taxi driver
According to Mandeng, the incident was prompted by a conversation between Mandeng and the taxi driver.
“It was very late and we took a taxi. In the taxi we were talking about issues facing LGBTI people and our role as activists. At some point the taxi driver intervened and I then asked him if he supported the LGBTI rights.”
Mandeng adds the cab driver took offence, which then made the situation spiral out of control.
“He got upset, said he was offended, started insulting me and LGBTI people in general and drove directly to the nearest police station. When we arrived there he became very hysterical, he started screaming, saying that he was an honest and hard working man and he could not stand LGBTI people”, said Mandeng.
Mandeng further pointed out that upon arrival at the police station he was locked up in a cell which the officials lied and said was done to protect him. He said that for hours he was kept in custody, and had to endure insults and humiliations from policemen who “asked me questions such as why I did not like women or how I can sleep with other men and things like that.”
Homosexuality in Cameroon is illegal, same-sex sexual acts are banned by section 347 of the penal code with a penalty of 5 years imprisonment and a fine of 20,000 to 200,000 Francs.
Mandeng also revealed that “at some point one of the policemen wanted to perform an examination on my anal parts to see if I regularly have anal sex. I protested vehemently, threatening to react violently if they ever touched me.”
After a night in the cell, Mandeng was finally released at noon after asking to be officially charged.
When BTM asked if he wanted to press charges, Mandeng said, “I think I will let it go because they did not assault me physically, if not for the homophobic insults and abuses we receive every tim