Prison for texting ‘I love you’? Petition pleads, ‘No!’

Jean-Claude Roger Mbede displays the text message that led to his 3-year prison sentence. (Photo courtesy of
Jean-Claude Roger Mbede displays the text message that led to his 3-year prison sentence. (Photo courtesy of

“I’m very much in love with you.”

That text message, which Jean-Claude Roger Mbede of Cameroon sent to another man, led to his three-year prison sentence.

Now, with a court hearing looming for Mbede, the activist organization is making a final publicity drive in hopes of persuading the Cameroonian government to keep him out of prison.

Early last year Mbede was sentenced to three years for homosexuality, which under Cameroonian law is punishable by imprisonment for up to five years.

In July, he was released for medical treatment, but now faces a court hearing that could result in his return to prison. stated:

Roger just spent a year in prison in Cameroon. His so-called crime? He sent another man an SMS that said “I’m very much in love w/u.” Roger’s got a new appeal hearing on Monday, but is facing another 2 years in prison unless we act.

We have just a few days to keep Roger from going back to jail, where he faced abuse from the guards and horrible health conditions. Cameroon’s President Paul Biya and the Minister of Justice have the authority to free Roger and end the terrible anti-gay laws that put him away in the first place. The President has been swayed in the past by international pressure, and knows that Cameroon’s reputation is at stake.

The group is seeking 10,000 signatures on an online petition to Cameroonian officials. As of today, the petition had been signed by 2,500 people. [By Sept. 17, the number had grown to 102,098.]

For more information about Mbede’s story, see the blog post from July 21, “Gay in Cameroon: after beatings in prison, rejection at home.”

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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  1. Hey mr Gay (jeff)i have been reading your comment for long and i have come to realize that you are one of the great activist of homosexualism, i see you and colin stewart are working tirlessly evryday to see how you could convince people to believe that homosxualism is normal (which is such case you people are acting against nature) for God sake how can someone who practise that which is forbidden be against his aborminable act? I believe such kind of people should be prevented from existing. You will always find one excuses or the other to justify your self but inwardly you know you are already condemn for your act. The prime minister of Belgium was once asked by a journalist what is your sexual orientation and he ELIO DI RUPO said ‘AM A GAY AND SO’ now in such a country where a gay happened to be their leader, Tell me how can such a leader see anything wrong with the act of homosexualism? And why would they not legalize it and even go to the extent approving a man and a man coming together as husband and wife? Many times i have wonder alot, what kind of people you really are. I just cant understand. For God sake how can a man be attracted to a man like him? Hey man we straight people are not judging you people GAY but we feel this is an unnatural act and it so disgursting plus the implication it has on our society. Mr JEFF You should be ashame of yourself and your family. Woe unto you. Do you really think you are safe any more? Do you really think you can live a free life as other normal human being are living? I know you can only remain in USA for ever if not you should know your life is in danger. I strongly belive that your life is not safe any more and you are terrified by the news you get about what is happening to gays around the world…… Like some of them are been killed, deprived of many things and etc. You wouldnt want come to NIGERIA that am very sure of because you know what your life will be. I hope you will come to change someday.

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