Court overturns 5-year sentence for gay sex in Cameroon

Jonas Singa Kumie and Franky Djome, with their attorney, Alice Nkom.
Jonas Singa Kumie and Franky Djome with attorney Alice Nkom. (Photo by Eric O. Lembembe)

Two young men in Cameroon were found not guilty today, overturning their previous sentence to five years in prison for homosexuality.

Stephane N. Koche, project manager for PAEMH (Project for the Support and Assistance of Sexual Minorities), reports:

Franky and Jonas, the two young men who were arrested, detained and sentenced to five years in prison on grounds of homosexuality … were declared NOT GUILTY this morning by the judges of the Central Appeals Court.

Singa Kimie (also known as Jonas Singa Kumie) and Ndjome Francky (also known as Franky Djome) were arrested in late July 2011 by police who found them having sex in a vehicle in the Essos district of Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon.

On Nov. 22, 2011, a judge found the two men guilty and imposed the maximum sentence. He said both men were obviously effeminate because they wore wigs and had drunk Bailey’s, which he said is a typically feminine drink.

Their lawyers in the appeal were human rights attorneys Alice Nkom et Michel Togue, both of Cameroon, and Saskia Ditisheim, president of Lawyers Without Borders Switzerland.

Lawyers Without Borders has said it will send a lawyer to each trial for the crime of homosexuality in Cameroon in partnership with the local Association for the Defense of Homosexuals, or ADEFHO, which is led by Nkom.

Under Cameroonian law, five years in prison is the maximum sentence for homosexual activity.

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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