Prison for being gay — Roger Mbede loses appeal

Roger Jean Claude Mbede: "I feel rejected by everyone."
Roger Jean Claude Mbede: “I feel rejected by everyone.” (Photo by Eric O. Lembembe)

The Central Appeals Court in Cameroon has halted its deliberations on the appeal of Roger Jean Claude Mbede, refusing to overturn the lower decision that sentenced him to three years in prison for being a homosexual.

Human rights attorney Michel Togue is preparing an appeal.

Mbede, 33, has been the focus of an intense international campaign seeking his release, including widespread support from Amnesty International.

Mbede, who is also known as Jean-Claude Roger Mbede, was reported to police after he sent an amorous text message to a male friend with whom he had fallen in love.

He spent 16 months in prison before his provisional release on July 16 for medical treatment.

The Cameroonian justice system is “feeling nervous to the point of forgetting to rule on the issue,”  Togue said.

Human rights activists are considering what steps to take next in suppoprt of Mbede.

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.


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