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Cameroon court upholds 3-year prison term for gay text message

Monday, December 17, 2012

DOUALA, Cameroon — An appeals court in the African nation of Cameroon on Monday upheld a three-year sentence against a man found guilty of homosexual conduct for sending a text message to another that contained a photo of himself holding a sign that said, “I’m very much in love with you.”

Roger Jean-Claude Mbede, 32, who had been provisionally released on bail in July after serving a year and a half in prison, said he wasn’t sure whether he could withstand more jail time given the conditions he faced there.

Roger Jean-Claude Mbede

“I am going back to the dismal conditions that got me critically ill before I was temporarily released for medical reasons,” Mbede told the Associated Press.

“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,” he said.

Mbede’s provisional release earlier this year followed pressure from rights activists over his deteriorating health aggravated by malnutrition and repeated assaults.

Cameroon’s penal code calls for sentences ranging from six months to five years for people found guilty of “sexual relations with a person of the same sex.”

Activists called the ruling a major setback in a country seen as one of the the most repressive in Africa towards LGBT people. Last year, 14 people were prosecuted for homosexuality in Cameroon, and 12 were convicted, according to Justice Ministry records cited by Human Rights Watch.

Mbédé’s lawyer now has 10 days to file an appeal to Cameroon’s supreme court.

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15 more reader comments:

  1. :’(

    Posted on Monday, December 17, 2012 at 9:04pm
  2. WHAT!!!!!????

    Posted on Monday, December 17, 2012 at 9:05pm
  3. How dare he love someone! It would have been quite legal if he said “I’m very much in hatred with you!”. Disgusted.

    Posted on Monday, December 17, 2012 at 9:05pm
  4. :O

    Posted on Monday, December 17, 2012 at 9:05pm
  5. What’s the world coming to ??? Next they will be letting us women vote !! Totally disgusted by such ignorance !

    Posted on Monday, December 17, 2012 at 9:08pm
  6. there isnt enough oil in cameroon to get U.S. assistance… and this country isnt far from doing the same

    Posted on Monday, December 17, 2012 at 9:14pm
  7. Wtf r u serious. I swear people het more andmore ignorant everyday. How would u even know its a “gay” text message

    Posted on Monday, December 17, 2012 at 9:18pm
  8. Is there no asylum????!!!!

    Posted on Monday, December 17, 2012 at 9:25pm
  9. Where it’s fine to rape underage girls and give them AIDS, but it’s an evil sin to be gay, because “Gay men will force your children to eat feces.” Yes, they said that. Religious ignorance is the highest form of human stupidity.

    Posted on Monday, December 17, 2012 at 9:33pm
  10. @stephanie you mean asylum as in sanctuary not mental hospital right?

    Posted on Monday, December 17, 2012 at 9:44pm
  11. Terrible …

    Posted on Monday, December 17, 2012 at 10:02pm
  12. Oh gosh these ignorant people believe the world is going to end in 4 days, they also believe we co-existed with dinasours and the world was created in 6 days. These people are so painfully ignorant that they’re sucking us into their stupidity hook, line and sinker. We just need to back off and watch the monkeys act silly from a safe distance, because they’re amused by throwing their own feces.

    Posted on Monday, December 17, 2012 at 11:10pm
  13. The fact is we have to realize, Crazy people can make sane people act crazy, the truth is right wing people have placed their entire belief in a book and they don’t have the intelligences to comprehend science or spiritual truth. Their sole belief in that book prevents them from being able to believe in the truth.

    Posted on Monday, December 17, 2012 at 11:19pm
  14. It’s SW Africa. The governments on that part of Earth are corrupt and don’t give their citizens any rights. I wish we could just bond him out and relocate him to the 1st world. If they’d lock a man in prison for a matter of years over a simple text message, but go easy on actual child rapists… let’s just say I can look at Africa and say, “America’s police have room to be a LOT worse than they are!” and everytime I think America’s law enforcement system is bad, I can just look at Africa.

    Posted on Monday, December 17, 2012 at 11:37pm
  15. well jail me cuz i tell my bf i love him every day

    Posted on Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 1:59pm