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Amnesty’s new appeal for imprisoned gay man

Jean-Claude Roger Mbede with activist attorney Alice N'Kom of Cameroon
Jean-Claude Roger Mbede with activist attorney Alice N'Kom of Cameroon (Photo courtesy of Amnesty International)

Amnesty International has launched a new campaign for the release of  Jean-Claude Roger Mbede and other LGBT people imprisoned in Cameroon for homosexual activities.

Last year, Mdebe was sentenced to three  years in prison for homosexuality.  Court action on his appeal has been delayed repeatedly.  A hearing on the appeal is currently scheduled for April 16.

Amnesty International previously asked its supporters to petition Paul Biya, the president of Cameroon, for Mdebe’s release.  This week, the group requested a new round of petitions:

So the lead-up to this next hearing really is a key time for a strong burst of action to let Paul Biya, the President of Cameroon, know that this discrimination must end, and Jean-Claude must be released. President Biya has a Twitter account, so it’s simple to target him directly. If you don’t use Twitter, you can still send an email. Following are some tweets you can use:

Call on #Cameroon President @PaulBiya to release Jean-Claude Roger Mbede now! #FreeMbede #LGBT http://bit.ly/freembede Please RT!

#Cameroon President @PaulBiya: Free Jean-Claude Roger Mbede now! #FreeMbede #LGBT http://bit.ly/freembede Please RT!

Amnesty reported that it received a letter from Mbede and other men serving similar sentences in the Kondengui central prison, saying:

“…your support represents hope, for LGBT people in Cameroon in general, and for us in prison in particular.

The hope to one day leave this prison that we’ve been thrown in, but also the hope that one day LGBT people will be able to walk fully free in Cameroon, holding their heads high, without any humiliation.”

Mbede’s request for release  pending his appeal was denied March 19.

Under Cameroonian law, homosexual activity is punishable by prison terms of six months to five years.

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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