Friday, February 10, 2012

Legal Gay Bashing in Cameroon

A young man in the Republic of Cameroon, Jean-Claude Roger Mbede, has been sentenced to three years imprisonment after being convicted of being a homosexual, Amnesty International reports. According to his lawyer Alice Nkom, police arrested Mbede because they considered his hair style to be too feminine.

My Gut Reaction: So the only safe way to go through Cameroon is to wear a crew cut?

Analysis: The BBC reports that Cameroon police claim they caught Mbede and another man having oral sex in a parked car. Even if that is the case, they simply should have been charged with lewd conduct, rather than being persecuted as homosexuals.

What makes matters worse is that Mbede has been held in Kondengui Central Prison in Cameroon's capital, where he is at high risk of violence from other prisoners due to his supposed homosexuality. Three years could conceivably be a death sentence for him.

Luckily, the international community has taken notice. Amnesty International has issued a call for people to write to the Cameroon government and ask for Mbede's release. I urge anyone reading this to go to their website and do so. Human Rights Watch has also condemned Cameroon's actions.

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