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3 months in jail, then bail on Cameroon gay sex charge

After more than three months in prison on homosexuality charges, Samuel Gervais Akam, 42, was released Nov. 6 from the New Bell prison in Douala, Cameroon, to await his trial.

His release on bail was a victory for his attorney, Alice Nkom, a long-time defender of gay rights in Cameroon.  She has been arguing for months for Akam to be released on bail on the grounds that he is in ill health and that his wife has died.

Akam was arrested June 24 on homosexuality charges after a financial dispute about sex with an 18-year-old man in the Bepanda neighborhood in Douala. A few days after the two were arrested, the youth was released. The date for Akam’s trial has not been announced.

Akam, a pastry chef, almost certainly lost his job during his stay in prison. No arrangements have yet been made to assist him in returning to a normal life.

After his release from prison, Akam went to the bedside of his gravely ill daughter.

In Cameroon, homosexual activity is punishable by up to five years in prison.

— Eric O. LEMBEMBE

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