17 people who ran afoul of anti-LGBT laws

The “Erasing 76 Crimes” blog is attempting to follow the stories of these 17 people who have run afoul of laws against homosexual behavior. All but two of them are from the West African nation of Cameroon.

  • Ifeanyi Chukwu Agah and Rabiu Benedict Yusuf of Nigeria, who were sentenced on Wednesday, March 21, to two years in prison for gay sex.
  • Two women, identified as Esther and Pascaline, who face charges of homosexual acts in the town of Ambam, southern Cameroon. The gay activist group All Out conducted a successful online campaign to raise money to pay their lawyer, Alice N’Kom, a prominent gay-rights advocate in Cameroon. The pair reportedly pleaded not guilty on Thursday, March 22. Their lawyer asked for the charges to be dismissed, arguing that the defendants’ rights had been violated.
  • Jean-Claude Roger Mbede of Cameroon, who is appealing a three-year prison sentence on charges of homosexuality. He is an Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience.
  • Roger Bruno Efaaba Efaaba and Marc Henri Bata of Cameroon, who Amnesty International says were arrested in September 2011 and accused of homosexuality, subjected to forced anal medical examinations in October, and remained in custody at the end of the year.
  • Three men identified as Francky, Jonas and Hilaire, who were arrested in July 2011 and sentenced in Yaounde, Cameroon, to five years in prison for homosexual acts, according to Amnesty International. They are appealing their sentences. Reportedly the appeal of Jonas and Francky (or Franky) was heard on Friday, March 23, and the judge continued the proceedings until April 20 to consider their case.
  • Ten unidentified women who were reportedly arrested and jailed in Cameroon in the town of Ambam about 300 kilometers south of the capital of Yaounde on charges of lesbianism.

Several of those listed above were among the seven jailed gay men in Cameroon who in January issued a New Year’s message expressing thanks to supporters who give them hope:

  • Jean Claude Roger Mbede
  • Singha Jonas,
  • Ndome Ndome Frankie,
  • Ombwa Joseph Magloire,
  • Tiomela Lontsie Emma,
  • Ntamack Nicolas,
  • Ntsama Séraphin.

Their statement said supporters give them:

The HOPE to be one day released from the PRISON in which we’ve been thrown, but also the HOPE that one day, LGBT people can walk quite freely in Cameroon, without any humiliation.

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, and editor/publisher of Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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