Main | Monday, December 17, 2012

CAMEROON: Three Years In Prison For Texting This Photo To A Man

Via the New York Times:
An appeals court on Monday upheld a three-year sentence against a man found guilty of homosexual conduct for sending a text message to another man saying: "I'm very much in love with you." Activists said the court's ruling in Yaounde, the capital, marked yet another setback for gays and lesbians in Cameroon, widely viewed as the most repressive country in Africa when it comes to prosecuting same-sex couples.

Jean-Claude Roger Mbede, 32, had been provisionally released on bail in July after serving a year and a half in prison. His lawyer has 10 days now to file an appeal to the country's Supreme Court. Holding back tears Monday, he said he wasn't sure whether he could withstand more jail time given the conditions he faced there.

"I am going back to the dismal conditions that got me critically ill before I was temporarily released for medical reasons," he told The Associated Press by telephone. "I am not sure I can put up with the anti-gay attacks and harassment I underwent at the hands of fellow inmates and prison authorities on account of my perceived and unproven sexual orientation. The justice system in this country is just so unfair."
Human Rights Watch reports that last year Cameroon imprisoned 12 people for the "crime" of homosexuality.

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