Gay Activist Discusses Detention, Abuse by Police in Cameroon
Earlier this week I posted a link to a story about a gay activist in Cameroon who was turned in to police by a taxi driver last week after discussing homosexuality in a cab. Sebastien Mandeng, the activist and Deputy President of the Association pour la Defense de le Homosexualite (ADEFHO), wrote a blog post in which he discussed the detention:
When returning from a trip with some friends, we hired a taxi, and during the ride we spoke about subjects relating to LGBTI rights and the need for decriminalization. From time to time the taxi-driver intervened in our conversation, and I asked for his opinions on the subject.
It was precisely at this moment that the situation took a turn for the worse.
He began driving much faster, shouting that instead of taking me to the final destination I had requested, he would take me to the nearest police station. When we arrived there, I paid the fare, and he became hysterical, crying out that he works hard with his hands and cannot tolerate homosexual practices.
When I arrived at the police station, it was four o’clock in the morning and the police locked me, barefoot, in a cell with no electricity, and insisted that the locked cell would provide protection. Throughout the hours I remained in custody I was subjected to insults, mocking and sarcasm from the policemen, who demanded to know why I don’t like women, why I prefer men, and “unnatural relations.”
Article 347 of the Cameroun penal code (ordinance n°72/16 of September 28, 1972) punishes by imprisonment from 6 months to 5 years and a fine of 20,000 to 200,000 FCFA any person who has sexual relations with someone of the same sex.
At one point the police threatened to insert their fingers into my anus in order to verify whether I am often sodomized, in order to charge me with homosexual activity later. I forcibly resisted, insisting that anyone who touched me would have to do so over my dead body.
Mandeng spent the night in the cell and was released after requesting legal representation.