Benoit K., 27, a hotel employee in the seaside city of Kribi, Cameroon, was given a suspended one-year* prison sentence yesterday and fined 140,000 CFA (US $280 or 213 euros) on homosexuality charges, the human rights organization Alternatives-Cameroon reported.
On May 13, Benoit K. was the target of an ambush by a family that accused him of luring a 21-year-old family member into homosexuality. After being tortured and beaten by this family, Benoit K. was taken to the police station in Kribi, where he was incarcerated on a charge of homosexuality. After two weeks in custody, Benoit K. was released on bail with a guarantor’s signature. His trial was scheduled for June 25, but the judge agreed to postpone it until July 9, because Benoit K. did not have legal representation.
On July 9, the Kribi-Cameroon District Court judge gave him a suspended five-year prison sentence and a fine of 140,000 FCFA. Of that fine, 40,000 FCFA (US $78 or 61 euros) is to be pay immediately before he is released. The remainder is payable during the subsequent four years at a rate of 25,000 FCFA per year (US $48 or 38 euros).
In its press release, Alternatives-Cameroon:
- Condemned the verdict because it was not based on evidence.
- Expressed regret that Cameroonians are still being sentenced on the basis of denunciations.
- Again called on Cameroonian authorities to repeal Article 347a, which penalizes sex between people of the same sex in Cameroon.
Editor’s note: Benoit K. later reported that the suspended sentence was for 1 year, and not 5 years as originally reported.
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