More disturbing reports from Cameroon, where gay men are often randomly arrested and subjected to legal ordeals that continue for years. More than 20 LGBT activists were violently attacked last month at their meeting to observe the International Day Against Homophobia, reports journalist Eric O. Lembembe. The attack happened on May 19 in the capital of Yaoundé.
Outside in the courtyard about 10 men from the Nkomo neighborhood gather, having caught word of what they call "a gathering of fags." The news spreads through the neighborhood. Their numbers grow. Around midnight, they burst into the room.
"Nearly two dozen people who came to the party were nearly beaten to death," says Yannick N, an organizer of the evening. "The abusers themselves said they wanted to do away with them."
Some gay men at the gathering were robbed of money, mobile phones, jewelry, identification papers, etc. Others were seized, insulted, beaten and injured, Some victims were stripped naked and forced to return home without clothes. Gay bashers pulled gay men from taxis. They pursued young men running.
None of the organizers called the police because they know from experience that the police would have arrested the gay victims of the beatings rather than the gay bashers.
Cameroon is one of at least 38 of Africa's 54 nations that currently have laws penalizing same-sex relations or even sexuality. Four nations—Mauritania, Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan—boast the death penalty for gays or same-sex activity. South Africa and Seychelles are the only African nations that protect LGBT rights. South Africa is also the only African nation to guarantee marriage equality.
Cameroon also boasts one of Africa's more repressive anti-LGBT regimes. Recent months have seen an increase in arrests and prosecutions under section 347a of its penal code, which criminalizes same-sex sexual acts. The government is preparing to toughen its already harsh penalties against homosexuality by equating them with pedophilia.
Gay men in Cameroon are routinely and randomly arrested and subjected to legal ordeals that continue for years. Since late July, a 19-year-old and a 20-year-old have been in police custody. Reports suggest the youths were arrested because they appeared "feminine". The two men received the maximum prison sentence of five years in November.
AF Pilot Refuses to Deport Gay Man to Cameroon
Cameroon Urged to Release 2 Gay Youths
CAMEROON: 3 Gay Youths Sentenced to Five Years
CAMEROON: Alice Nkom Warns of Rise in Arrests
CAMEROON: 2 Teens, 2 Men Face Trial
2 Gay Youth Arrested for "Looking Feminine"
2 Gay Youth Face Trial for Homosexuality
Air France Refuses to Deport Gay Asylum Seeker
CAMEROON: 3 More Arrests for Homosexuality
Cameroon: Pro-LGBT Attorney Threatened w/ Arrest
Cameroon Sentences Journalist to 6 Months
Cameroon Sentences Three for Homosexuality
Gay Man Imprisoned for Two Years Without Trial
"Homosexuelle en Afrique"
Cameroon Gay Man Re-Arrested