Help us get 3 LGBT women out of prison in Cameroon

Eva, Marie and Col are locked up in Bertoua Central Prison in East Cameroon, serving sentences for whom and how they love. You can help get them out.

Click on the image to donate.

Eva and Marie, a lesbian couple, are serving two-year sentences in Bertoua Central Prison because they were found hugging each other passionately. Col, a trans woman who has been a sex worker, is imprisoned for one year for dressing as a woman.

This blog’s Not Alone / Pas Seul Project is seeking donations to pay their fines so their sentences won’t be extended.

With support from donors like you and from this blog’s Not Alone / Pas Seul project, the three imprisoned victims of homophobia will receive food and hygiene supplies brought to them by LGBT rights activists.

The prison expects inmates to survive on small amounts of food, distributed only once a day, so the prisoners are malnourished. The hygiene items (bleach, disinfectant soap, etc.) are desperately needed because Bertoua Central Prison is so dirty that prisoners are plagued with skin diseases and stomach aches.

In addition to the food and hygiene deliveries, the goal of the Not Alone / Pas Seul project is to raise money to pay the three prisoners’ fines, which will allow them to leave prison without having extra months tacked onto their sentences to work off those debts.

Under Cameroonian law, same-sex intimacy is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of as much as 200,000 Central African francs (about US $331).

Eva and Marie were each fined 138,000 Central African francs (about $229 each). After completing a two-year sentence, they will be freed in September if they can pay their fines by then. Otherwise, they remain incarcerated for several more months.

Col’s fine was set at 106,000 Central African francs (about $176). After completing a one-year sentence, she will be freed in July if she can pay the fine. Otherwise, she’ll remain in prison until November.

See the Eva and Marie’s story: “Two years in a Cameroon prison for two women’s passionate hug.”

See Col’s story: “Trans woman seeks to leave prison and sex work. You can help.”

We are seeking $1,088 ($633 to pay their fines; $455 for two bimonthly deliveries of food and hygiene items, including the costs of transportation to the prison, prison entrance charges, etc.) We’ll increase the number of deliveries if donated funds exceed $1,088 or if the prisoners tell us during the next visit that they would prefer more food and less help with paying their fines.

This work in East Cameroon is the third phase of the Not Alone / Pas Seul project.

The first phase was in the capital city of Yaoundé in 2018, when donors from Mexico, the United States, France and Luxembourg paid for deliveries of food and hygiene items for three gay prisoners — Albert, Olivier and Eric, each of whom was imprisoned for whom they loved. They ended their sentences well-nourished because of the food, which was delivered by local LGBT rights activists from the organizations Camfaids and Humanity First Cameroon.

Groceries purchased last year for the Not Alone project’s deliveries to prisoners in northern Cameroon: tomatoes in bags, bouillon cubes, sugar, laundry soap and detergent, bleach, tapioca, antiseptic soap, rice, peanuts, toilet paper, cooking oil and toilet oil, pasta, and salt. (Photo by Steeves Winner)

In the second phase, in 2019, the Not Alone / Pas Seul Project assisted another three prisoners, this time in Muslim-majority northern Cameroon. We worked with the regional LGBT rights activists of Association Jeunes Solidaires Garoua (AJSG), which made the deliveries to Ibrahim,  Abdelaziz and Ismael. As ever, the three men were in prison for only one crime — being gay. In addition to making deliveries of food, soap, bleach, etc., we paid for an eye exam and glasses for a prisoner suffering from headaches because of his poor eyesight. Donors paid the expenses of two lawyers who traveled to Garoua, worked there pro bono, and negotiated the payment of the prisoners’ fines and their early release.

This year, in eastern Cameroon, we will again be working with a local LGBT rights group, this time the organization 2HRC.

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 one-time U.S. tax-deductible donation for this project immediately, you can do so:

  • On Facebook (“Donate” button at https://www.facebook.com/saintpaulfound/ ) Please send a message that the donation is for the  Not Alone / Pas Seul project.
  • By PayPal.com to the foundation’s account at stpaulsfdr@gmail.com (Please send a message that the donation is for the Not Alone / Pas Seul project.)
  • By sending a check to St. Paul’s Foundation, 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.) Please write “Not Alone / Pas Seul” on the memo line.

Articles about the previous two phases of the Not Alone / Pas Seul project are below. (By the way, we did not set out to assist only three prisoners in Bertoua, but by coincidence that once again was the number of imprisoned victims of Cameroonian homophobia there.)

 

Images representing the three gay prisoners in northern Cameroon who were freed early through the work of the Not Alone / Pas Seul project and its donors.
Images representing the three gay prisoners in northern Cameroon who were freed early through the work of the Not Alone / Pas Seul project and its donors.

Articles about Phase 2 of the Not Alone / Pas Seul Project in northern Cameroon:

 

Click on the image to provide food for 3 emaciated prisoners whose only crime is being gay.
Images representing the three gay prisoners in Yaounde whose only crime was being gay. Through the Not Alone / Pas Seul project, they received much-needed deliveries of food and hygiene supplies.

Articles about Phase 1 of the Not Alone / Pas Seul Project in Yaoundé:

More context:

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 info@76crimes.com.

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