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Cameroon lesbians freed after 9 months awaiting trial

Cameroon map shows the location of Ebolowa south of the capital city, Yaounde.

Cameroon map shows the location of Ebolowa south of the capital city, Yaounde.

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.

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5 thoughts on “Cameroon lesbians freed after 9 months awaiting trial

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