Amnesty International has condemned a court in the country’s capital Yaoundé for sentencing 3 men to five years in prison on charges of being gay.

One of the men has managed to abscond from custody after jumping bail.

The men were arrested in July after police alleged they were caught performing a sexual act in a car.

Their lawyer, Michel Togue, told AFP on Wednesday, that it was a blatant violation of the country’s law.

In a statement, Amnesty International’s Africa Director Erwin van der Borght said:

“The Yaoundé court must overturn this shocking sentence, which punishes these three men solely on the basis of their perceived sexual orientation.

“People accused of such crimes in Cameroon often face abuse and violence from other detainees or prison officers in detention.

“The two men must be released immediately and the Cameroonian authorities must repeal the country’s discriminatory anti-homosexuality laws.”

Homosexuality remains banned in Cameroon and lawmakers have recently attempted to toughen legal sanctions against the LGBT community.

Amnesty says at least ten individuals in Yaoundé and the largest city of Douala have been arrested under the country’s homophobic laws since March.