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Cameroon : Two men face trial accused of being gay

Two men accused of being homosexual face court today, August 18 in Yaounde, Cameroon after having been arrested late on July 25 this year. The two are currently detained in Yaounde’s Central Prison.

Avatar of Alessia Valenza

23rd August 2011 13:47

Alessia Valenza

A press statement released by three organizations, ADEFHO (Association for the Defence of Homosexuals) SID’ADO (Teenagers Against HIV/Aids) and COFENHO (Group Of Families With Homosexual Children) in Cameroon, said, “On the night of July 25, 2011, in the city of Yaoundé in Cameroon, three men, Hilaire (about 40 years), Jonas (19 years) and Franky (20 years), were driving in Hilaire’s car after having a drink at a bar. On the road, they were stopped by police officers belonging to the Mobile Intervention group.

“After the police officers approached Hilaire’s car, they asked the occupants to decline their identity, the police discovered that two of the three occupants of the car, in this case Jonas and Franky, who they thought were girls in the company of their friend, because of their make-up, their hair and their highly “feminized” clothing, were men.

“From this moment, they decided to take them Manu military (immediately and under armed guard) to the Regional Directorate of the Judicial Police and to hold them in custody for homosexuality. During their stay in custody, the detainees reported having suffered ill treatment torture and harassment because they decided to keep silent and talk only in the presence of a lawyer as prescribed in the Cameroonian Criminal procedure code.”

A week later, on August 1, the men were taken to the Attorney of the Republic in the Court of First Instance of Ekounou (Yaoundé), who immediately issued a warrant of detention against Jonas and Franky, while Hilaire was simply released, officially for health problems.

Since that day, Jonas and Franky have been held at the Central Prison of Yaoundé Kondengui, and according to information, the date of the opening of their trial at the tribunal is scheduled for today, August 18, 2011, at the Ekounou court of justice.

In June 2011, Amnesty International highlighted the plight of Jean-Claude Roger Mbede who was jailed for three years in Cameroon for being gay.

According to Amnesty, homophobia is endemic in Cameroonian society and the arrests, prosecutions and trials of gay men occur on a regular basis.