Generous readers donate to feed 3 gay Muslim prisoners

Thanks to generous readers of this blog, three gay Muslim victims of homophobia in northern Cameroon prisons have received food and hygiene items they need to avoid malnutrition and ill health.

Graphic for the fundraising campaign for the new Not Alone / Pas Seul project in northern Cameroon.
Graphic for the fundraising campaign for the Not Alone / Pas Seul project in northern Cameroon.

The visits were made possible by donors to the Pas Seul / Not Alone Project, sponsored by this blog and the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation.

The local partner in the project is the LGBTI rights organization Association Jeunes Solidaire de Garoua (AJSG, the Youth Solidarity Association of Garoua).

Representatives of AJSG visited the three gay Muslim prisoners — Ibrahim, Abdoulaziz and Ismail — in the prisons of Guider and Tcholliré on Jan. 8 and 9.

Such deliveries are crucial to the men’s health, since prisoners otherwise receive only one small meal a day. Unlike many other prisoners in Muslim-majority northern Cameroon, these three men have all been disowned by their families, so gifts of food from relatives are unavailable. Each of the three was sentenced only for the “crime” of loving another man.

AJSG’s reports on the Jan. 8-9 prison visits will be published in the days ahead.

Further donations are needed in order to continue providing assistance. The project has only enough money to pay for one more visit, in March. But the prison sentences of two of the three prisoners — Ibrahim and Abdoulaziz — extend for years; the sentence of Ismail will end in August.

Several donors have signed up to make modest recurring monthly gifts. That is the most reliable way to assure ongoing deliveries. To make recurring U.S. tax-deductible donations, go to the project’s account at DonorBox. (You can stop those payments at any point.)

If you want to make a one-time U.S. tax-deductible donation immediately, you can do so:

So far, we have raised $682.15, which is enough for one further delivery to each of the three prisoners plus a follow-up visit by independent observers to make sure that all went as planned. Donors receive detailed reports on the project’s finances, which includes the cost of groceries (about 57 percent of the total), round-trip bus fares to the two prisons, prison entry fees, and per-diem payments of $12 per visitor for each day’s prison visit.

Donors are also urged to send messages of support to the prisoners.

Food purchased for gay Muslim prisoners in northern Cameroon. (Photo courtesy of AJSG)
Food purchased for gay Muslim prisoners in northern Cameroon. (Photo courtesy of AJSG)

The groceries delivered on Jan. 8-9 included:

  • Rice
  • Peanuts
  • Pasta
  • Cooking oil
  • Antiseptic soap
  • Tomatoes
  • Slippers (for hygiene)
  • Shrimp-flavor seasoning cubes
  • Salt and
  • Toilet paper

AJSG reported that for Ibrahim and Abdoulaziz, “the majority of their time is devoted to watching television in their room because, to survive in prison, they must avoid thinking about their problems and above all be humble.”

The men added, “Prayer is the key to peace in prison because only Allah can protect us so we pray constantly when the opportunity arises.”

For more about the three prisoners, watch for the full AJSG reports in the days ahead.

Earlier articles about Pas Seul / Not Alone in northern Cameroon:

Article about the previous project in Yaoundé:

 

 

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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