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Cameroon: Court refuses to release man serving 3-year sentence for ‘homosexual behaviour’

December 17, 2012

A court in Cameroon has upheld a conviction against a man found guilty of “homosexual behaviour” for sending a text message to another man saying: “I’m very much in love with you.”

The Court of Appeal ruled early on Monday that Jean-Claude Roger Mbede, 32, must serve out his three-year jail term.

He was provisionally released on bail in July after spending a year and a half behind bars.

Mr Mbede told the Associated Press that he’s not sure he can put up with the homophobic attacks and harassment he has faced from fellow inmates and prison authorities.

LGBT rights activists say the decision marks yet another setback for equality in Cameroon.

“This isn’t just a tragedy for Roger. This is an embarrassment for Cameroon’s justice system,” said attorney Michel Togué. “The law criminalising ‘homosexual behaviour’ was used here merely to persecute an innocent man. It’s time to end this law and prevent more injustice.”

In the lead up to Mr Mbede’s hearing, his lawyers, Alice Nkom and Michel Togué, also received numerous death threats due to their LGBT advocacy work.

More: Africa, Africa, anti-gay law, anti-gay laws, associated press, Cameroon, homophobic law, Jean-Claude Roger Mbede

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