Two lesbians in southern Cameroon were released on Aug. 22 after nine months in prison awaiting trial on homosexuality charges.
On Aug. 21, Liliane and Nicole each received a two-year prison sentence, which was converted into a three-year suspended sentence, according to their attorney, Michel Togué.
In November 2013, the women were arrested and jailed on homosexuality charges in Ebolowa, 160 kilometers south of Cameroon’s capital, Yaoundé.
For months, they had no legal representation, until Togué took their case in May. He is one of three lawyers in Cameroon who accept LGBT defendants and prisoners as clients.
The women’s trial ended in a conviction on Aug. 14.
Cameroonian law provides for prison sentences of up to five years for same-sex sexual activity. It is supposed to apply only to cases of same-sex intercourse in which a couple is “caught in the act,” but the law is often interpreted as justifying imprisonment for people who are merely suspected of being homosexual.
In this case, the women were charged with homosexual behavior involving another woman.
Togué said that Liliane and Nicole will need support as they seek to return to a productive life in Cameroonian society.
Articles about this case
- Imprisoned lesbians gain an advocate in Cameroon (May 8, 2013, 76crimes.com)
- So far, 2 jailed lesbians are on their own in Cameroon (March 26, 2014, 76crimes.com)
- 2 lesbians arrested in Cameroon (not 4) (March 6, 2014, 76crimes.com)
- Cameroon sentence: 4 months for lesbian activity (May 5, 2014, in Yaoundé, 76crimes.com)
- A visit to prisoners held on ‘suspicion of homosexuality’ (March 5, 2014, 76crimes.com)
- Cameroon: Two lesbians sentenced to nine months (June 21, 2013, in Yaoundé, 76crimes.com)
- Slain LGBT activist’s work survived his murder (Jan. 24, 2014, 76crimes.com)