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Friday, 19 August 2011

In Cameroon, arrested gays 'tortured into confessing homosexuality'

Me Alice NkomAlice Nkom image via Wikipedia
By Paul Canning

Two young gay men arrested in Cameroon last week have "confessed" to homosexuality after being tortured, according to a press statement by the Cameroon LGBT group Association for Defense of Homosexuality (ADEFHO) and Human Rights Watch (HRW).

The two were arrested with a third man 25 July, supposedly in a car outside a bar.

Cameroon press reports, presumably resulting from police briefings, claimed they were arrested for having sex in a car - according to KaiWalai a blowjob - by police who saw the car swerving. The reports alleged they were dressed in women's clothing and that the two younger men were prostitutes.

However ADEFHO and HRW say were arrested whilst leaving a bar because two of them 'seemed effeminate'.

All three were detained for a week and suffered torture and other ill-treatment by police, according to ADEFHO. However the older man was bailed "thanks largely to his money" they said.

In their first court appearance 18 August they were represented by legendary Cameroonian lawyer and activist Alice Nkom and pleaded not guilty.

Said ADEFHO:
"The lawyers immediately requested a provisional release of their clients but the public prosecutor was strongly against this request. He justified his opposition by the fact that the two boys hadn’t any guarantee to comply with the request."
"The lawyers reminded the prosecutor about the absence of Hilaire (the third [older] man who was arrested with Jonas and Francky) and who benefited a bail and was supposed to be present at the hearing court  this Tuesday but unfortunately was absent nevertheless the prosecutor asserted that he still had the guarantees."
"The lawyers also discussed about the procedural defect because the two boys were arrested in the night of 25 to 26 July 2011 and the mandate to police custody only dates to July the 28th  and passed in front the prosecutor the1st of August 2011 (seven days after)."

"The judge set the next trial to the 23rd of August 2011 for the deliberation of the request for provisional release."
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