There is promising news to report on Ediage Valerie Ekwedde, the 26-year-old gay man from the Cameroon who has been seeking in Britain since last November. The UK Border Agency has twice attempted to deport Ekwedde. Two months ago an Air France pilot refused to deport the gay man.
The High Court in London has granted an injunction suspending Ekwedde's deportation, reports Radio France International.
Ekwedde was scheduled to fly back to Cameroon [on July 2]. But he went instead to the High Court where his sollicitor, Hani Zubeidi, argued that the Home Office had made an "irrational and unreasonable decision" when it chose to deport him. Zubeidi says that his client risks persecution if he goes to Cameroon.
"Following the deportation action against him, there has been vast media coverage across the globe with regard to Valérie and his plight," Zuneidi said. "His plight is also reported in a Cameroonian newspaper, explaining that a homosexual is on his way back to Cameroon."
Ekwedde says he's delighted with the injunction. "I'm very happy," Ekwedde said in an interview with RFI, " but I'm still in the immigration removal centre."
Ekwedde escaped from Cameroon where he was harassed because of his sexuality. Ekwedde and his partner were seen embracing at a bar in Yaounde. They were attacked by an angry crowd and taken to the police station. After bribing officers for their freedom, they fled to Britain. However, the gay man's asylum application was rejected because the UK Border Agency claimed that there was "no credible evidence" he was gay.
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. Gay men in Cameroon are routinely and randomly arrested and subjected to legal ordeals that continue for years. Recent months have seen an increase in arrests and prosecutions under section 347a of its penal code, which criminalizes same-sex sexual acts. In late June, more than 20 LGBT activists were violently attacked last month at their meeting to observe the International Day Against Homophobia.
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