A Cameroonian court’s overturning of the conviction of two men accused of homosexuality was a rare victory for gay rights in Africa. Homosexuality is illegal in most African countries, and several are considering bills to strengthen existing anti-gay legislation. Despite the U.S. State Department’s recent statements of support for gay rights internationally, efforts to combat such legislation come with a host of risks.

Cameroon Court Victory a Rare Bright Spot for Gay Rights in Africa

By , , Briefing

On Jan. 7, Cameroon’s gay rights community received a rare bit of good news. In what activists described as a breakthrough, the Court of Appeal in Yaoundé, the capital, overturned a ruling against two men found guilty of homosexuality in 2011.  

Jonas Singa Kimie, 19, and Franky Ndome Ndome, 25, were arrested in July 2011 by authorities who accused them of violating Article 347 of the penal code, which explicitly outlaws gay sex acts. The authorities had no proof of the alleged acts, but claimed the men’s clothing, manner of speaking and drink of choice proved they were gay. A court agreed, sentencing them to the maximum five years in prison and fining them roughly $400 each. Behind bars, Ndome endured harassment and physical violence, according to a recent report by Amnesty International. ...

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