Embattled LGBT people in Cameroon might soon win a major victory, veteran human rights attorney Alice Nkom said in a recent interview.
Nkom sees that as a potential outcome of a prosecutor’s challenge to the January ruling that released Jonas Singa Kumie and Franky Djome from a five-year sentence they were serving for alleged violations of Cameroon’s anti-homosexuality law.
An article about Nkom, published April 8 in Jeune Afrique, described how the appeal could lead to legal recognition that LGBT people’s rights are so important that they would nullify Cameroon’s law against homosexual activity. Translated into English, the relevant section of that article states:
On Jan. 7, 2013, Jonas and Franky are acquitted by the Cameroonian justice system, but in just a few hours they are practically lynched and left for dead in the street. Free, but still in danger, they were even made the subject of an appeal by the prosecutor at the end of March, which had the effect of sending their case to the Supreme Court of Cameroon.
That was a setback, but with the potential for turning into a great victory. If the court were to decide in a few months in favor of two Cameroonians, that would also validate the principle of the superiority of the rights of sexual minorities over national legislation that condemns homosexuality.
“We sincerely believe that we have the opportunity to see the decriminalization of homosexuality by judicial rather than political means,” explains Nkom.
She adds: “Cameroon defends privacy in the homes of its citizens. It has never said that applies to ‘all households except those of homosexuals.’ ”
Without a doubt, the future for Franky, Jonas, Roger Mbede and behind them the whole gay community Cameroon will depend on the decision of the court. The stakes are not only personal but also historical.
The full article (in French) is “Cameroun : Alice Nkom, une décennie de lutte pour dépénaliser l’homosexualité.”
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