Donors cover Cameroon prisoners’ fines, not food or sanitary pads

There’s good news and bad news for three imprisoned victims of homophobia in eastern Cameroon: Donors have contributed enough to pay the women’s fines, but not enough for the delivery of food and hygiene items that had been planned. Not even the sanitary pads.


From the African Human Rights Media Network


Bertoua Central Prison. (Click on the image to donate to help the three LGBT prisoners there.)

Further assistance is still being accepted. U.S. tax-deductible donations to the project will be received by the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation and promptly sent along to eastern Cameroon.

Since the beginning of the latest phase of the Not Alone / Pas Seul project in Bertoua in eastern Cameroon, generous donors have contributed a total of $1,058.

From early donations, LGBTI rights activists from the 2HRC advocacy group in Bertoua were able to deliver groceries and hygiene items to the three prisoners during a visit in late April. The cost of that visit was $256, including the purchased items, prison admission charges and 2HRC expenses.

The deliveries of food and hygiene items are important for the prisoners, who are malnourished because they are fed only one meal a day. Bertoua Central Prison is so dirty that prisoners are plagued with skin diseases and stomach aches on top of the new risk of Covid-19.

In April, the prisoners — trans woman Col and the lesbian couple Marie and Eva — told the visitors from 2HRC that their No. 1 priority was for their fines to be paid. That would allow them to go free at the scheduled completion of their prison sentences instead of staying longer to work off the fines.

Donations to the Not Alone / Pas Seul project have made that possible. A transfer of $633 is on its way to 2HRC, which will be used to pay the fines in full.

The location of Bertoua in Cameroon.
The location of Bertoua in Cameroon.

All three are victims of Cameroon’s anti-homosexuality law. Eva and Marie are serving two-year sentences after 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.

After Col was convicted, her fine was set at 106,000 Central African francs (about $176). She will complete her sentence in July, at which point she can be freed, because the fine will have been paid. Otherwise, she would have been held until November.

Eva and Marie were each fined 138,000 Central African francs (about $229 each). After completing their sentences, they will be freed in September. If their fines weren’t paid, they would remain incarcerated for several more months.

After paying their fines, the 2HRC activists will have $169 left over, which they will use to benefit the prisoners. The Not Alone / Pas Seul project had hoped to have $273 at this point — $256 for a June visit with food and hygiene items for three prisoners plus $17 for sanitary napkins.

If readers of this article donate more money promptly, it will be sent to Cameroon immediately so the June visit can proceed as planned.

Any further donations will go toward needed eyeglasses for Marie ($146) and a further visit in August ($216, including sanitary napkins). That visit would presumably go to Eva and Marie only, since Col should have been released by the point.

CLICK HERE to donate to help the three unjustly imprisoned women.

Click on the image to donate.

For more information:

Options for donations:

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 [email protected] (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.

 

The work in Bertoua is the third phase of the Not Alone / Pas Seul Project. Information about the previous two phases of the project is below.

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 (2019):

 

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 (2018):

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 [email protected]

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