Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

15 August 2011

Cameroonian men detained for “homosexuality”

Cameroonian men detained for “homosexuality”

The Cameroonian authorities must immediately release two young men due to stand trial on 18 August on charges of homosexuality and repeal the discriminatory law used to imprison them, Amnesty International said today.

The two men - a 19-year-old known only as Jonas, and a 20-year-old known only as Francky - were arrested on 25 July in a car outside a night club in the Cameroonian capital, Yaoundé.

They have been charged under Section 347a of the Cameroonian Penal Code, which criminalizes same-sex sexual acts, and are being held at Yaoundé’s Kondengui central prison.

“Given the high level of officially sanctioned homophobia in Cameroon, those arrested under this law are at risk of attack or other forms of ill-treatment by fellow prisoners, or by prison authorities, because of their alleged sexual orientation.” said  Erwin Van Der Borght,  Amnesty International’s Africa Programme Director.

 “Cameroon should repeal this draconian law. By arresting people purely because of their alleged sexual orientation, the Cameroonian government is flagrantly violating international human rights treaties which it has signed or ratified.”

Jonas and Francky are the latest in a series of young men arrested under Section 347a.  If convicted, they could face up to five years in prison.

In March this year, Jean-Claude Roger Mbede was sentenced to 36 months’ imprisonment after sending SMS messages to a male acquaintance.

He is serving his sentence at Kondengui central prison, known for its overcrowding, poor sanitation and inadequate food supplies.

Mbede is said to be in poor physical and mental health and to have been denied medical treatment. He told visitors that he has been sleeping on the ground since his imprisonment in March. He is currently appealing against his conviction and sentence.

Amnesty International considers Mbede to be a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned solely because of his real or perceived sexual orientation. It has called on the authorities to ensure he is not subjected to any form of ill-treatment, harassment or violence.

Arrests, detentions and trials of gay men, as well as people who are suspected of being gay, occur on a regular basis under Section 347a of the Cameroonian Penal Code.

Section 347a has been in force since 1972, but has only in the last few years been so stringently enforced.

“Detentions under the law appeared to have dropped in recent years, following a peak of arrests in 2005-6 “. said Erwin Van Der Borght. “But over the past few months, such arrests appear to be on the rise again. We urge the Cameroonian authorities to rethink this discriminatory legislation and comply with their obligations under international human rights law.”

Read More

Cameroonian man jailed for homosexuality (Urgent Action, 3 June 2011)

Country

Cameroon 

Region

Africa 

Issue

Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 
Freedom Of Expression 
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity 

@amnestyonline on twitter

News

24 October 2014

Equatorial Guinea’s government should reveal the names and the reasons for the arrest of all prisoners set to benefit from the country’s newly announced amnesty on... Read more »

24 October 2014

The dismissive reaction of the Dominican Republic to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ ruling on human rights abuses suffered by Dominicans of Haitian descent and... Read more »

22 October 2014

The release from prison of one of Viet Nam’s most high profile prisoners of conscience is a positive step, but authorities must now free the scores of other peaceful... Read more »

24 October 2014

The decision to authorize the extradition to Russia of Kazakhstani banker and opposition figure Mukhtar Ablyazov by a french Court of Appeal has set in motion a procedure... Read more »

24 October 2014

The Iranian authorities must stop the execution of a woman due to be hanged tomorrow morning after being convicted for the killing of a man whom she said tried to... Read more »