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Another 3 men in Cameroon jail for homosexuality

Amnesty International’s candle-and-barbed-wire symbol. (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
Amnesty International’s candle-and-barbed-wire symbol. (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Previously unreported on this blog, these cases are cited by the newly released Amnesty International report on Cameroon.  The report states:

“Two young men identified as Depadou N, aged 21 years, and Paul Arno, aged 24 years, were arrested on 22 November 2011 and detained by the police in Yaoundé. Their arrest followed a denunciation by a third person who accused them of engaging in same-sex relations. They were, in December 2012, being held at Kondengui prison while awaiting trial on the charge of practising same-sex sexual relations.”

[See the later blog post “$1,000 bribe overcomes anti-gay charges in Cameroon” for a different account of this case, which states that the two men have been released. ]

A further case involves a man who apparently is still in prison 15 months after he received a one-year sentence:

“In December 2012, Amnesty International delegates met and interviewed [Thomas Leba] at New Bell prison. ….  Leba, 24, said he was arrested in Douala on 15 October 2011 and accused of being gay. The Court of First Instance in Douala found him guilty of homosexuality and sentenced him to one year’s imprisonment. He appealed against his conviction and sentence.

When Amnesty International met him in December he had already been in prison for 15 months but had not been released, apparently because he was awaiting a decision of the Court of Appeal.”

The addition of these three men changes the total number of people listed as imprisoned for homosexuality in Cameroon to 6, plus 15 who are awaiting trial on homosexuality-related charges.

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 info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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