An evening out at an LGBT-friendly night spot led to a court in Cameroon imposing a three-year prison sentence (suspended) on a young lesbian convicted of violating the country’s law against same- sex intimacy.
Cameroonian human rights defender Patience Friede reports:
On the night of March 7 to 8, Tchuandem Megayie Vicky, a young lesbian, was in an LGBT-friendly snack bar in Douala, Cameroon, with straight friends who were curious about gay lifestyles.
At about 3 a.m. her friends returned home, but she did not because her neighborhood is unsafe.
After a little while, she went to a corner of the snack bar to get away from the noise and place a telephone call. At the point, a plainclothes police officer called out to her and asked her to introduce herself. Not knowing who he was, Vicky asked him to introduce himself first. He started beating her and shouting that she shouldn’t try to teach him how to do his job
His colleagues then arrived, arrested her and transferred her to the Ndogbong Brigade police station. She was put in cell with men and barred from using a phone or receiving medical care.
The next day at 11 a.m., Vicky was referred to the prosecutor’s office at the Ndokoti court. The prosecutor threatened to send her to prison. During her transfer to court, a friend recognized Vicky and notified REDHAC (the Network of Central African Human Rights Defenders), which arranged for legal representation at court. Vicky was released on bail.
On April 13, the court found her guilty of violating Cameroon’s law against homosexual activity and sentenced her to three years in prison. The sentence was suspended on the condition that she not be arrested for homosexuality again.
Vicky wants to file an appeal, but she does not have the funds to do so.
If you want to help, write to Patience Friede, human rights defender at REDHAC, (firstname.lastname@example.org).