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Urgent Action: Cameroonian Man Jailed for Homosexuality

in CAMEROON,

Amnesty International have classified Jean-Claude Mbede as a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned solely because of his sexual orientation. Amnesty also issued an urgent action release urging the international human rights community to write letters calling for his immediate and unconditional release.

URGENT ACTION: CAMEROONIAN MAN JAILED FOR HOMOSEXUALITY

Jean-Claude Roger Mbede has been sentenced to 36 months in prison for homosexuality, a criminal offence under Section 347a of the Cameroonian Penal Code. He is currently serving his sentence at Kondengui central prison in Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon. He is at risk of physical attack and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment on account of his real or perceived sexual orientation. Amnesty International considers Jean-Claude Roger Mbede to be a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned solely because of his sexual orientation.

On 2 March Jean-Claude Roger Mbede was arrested by members of the Secretary of State for Defence (SED) security service while meeting a male acquaintance. Prior to the meeting, his acquaintance had showed to the police text messages he had received from Jean-Claude Roger Mbede, and informed them they were due to meet. Jean-Claude Roger Mbede was taken into custody on suspicion of homosexuality at the Gendarmerie du Lac detention centre in Yaoundé. He was held there for seven days before being charged with homosexuality and attempted homosexuality and transferred to Kondengui Central Prison on 9 March. Jean-Claude Roger Mbede appeared before a court (Tribunal de première instance) in Yaoundé on 10 and 24 March. On 28 April the court found him guilty of homosexuality and attempted homosexuality and sentenced him to three years’ imprisonment. He is currently serving his sentence at Kondengui central prison where he is at risk of homophobic attacks, as well as ill-treatment by fellow inmates or prison authorities because of his real or perceived sexual orientation. In addition, the prison conditions in Kondengui are harsh, with inmates suffering overcrowding, poor sanitation and inadequate food. An appeal against the sentence was made by his lawyers on 3 May

Section 347a of the Cameroonian Penal Code states “Whoever has sexual relations with a person of the same sex shall be punished with imprisonment from six months to five years and with a fine ranging from 20,000 Francs CFA to 200,000 Francs CFA” (approximately 35 to 350 US dollars). This contravenes the international and regional human rights treaties (including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights) which Cameroon has signed and ratified.

PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in French, English or your own language:

Call for the immediate and unconditional release of Jean-Claude Roger Mbede;
Note that he is a prisoner of conscience imprisoned solely because of his sexual orientation;
Urge the authorities to repeal Section 347a of the Penal Code in accordance with their obligations under the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights;
Express concern about his physical safety while in prison because of his sexual orientation and call on the authorities to ensure that he is not subjected to any form of ill-treatment, harassment or violence while in prison;

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 15 JULY 2011 TO:

His Excellency
Paul Biya
President of the Republic
Office of the President
P.O. Box 100
Yaounde
Fax: +237 2222 0870
Email: cellcom@prc.cm
Salutation: Your Excellency / Son Excellence

M Amadou Ali
Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Justice, Keeper of the Seals
Ministry of Justice
Office of the Prime Minister
P.O Box 100
Yaounde
Fax: +237 2223 4090
Salutation: Dear Deputy Prime Minister / Mr le Vice Premier Ministre

And copies to:
M Marafa Hamidou Yaya
Minister of State for Territorial Administration and Decentralisation
Ministry of State for Territorial Administration and Decentralisation
Yaounde
Fax: + 237 2222 3735

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.

Cameroonian human rights organisations Association for the Defense of Homosexuals (ADEFHO) and Teenagers Against HIV/AIDS (SID’ADO) reported that Mbede Roger Jean-Claude has been sentenced to 36 months in prison for homosexuality in April.

Human Rights Watch joined these organisations recently to write to high level Camaroonian officials calling for Mbede Roger Jean-Claude's unconditional release.
 

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