Africa | Cameroon | Crime | Eric Ohena Lembembe

Cameroon Government Blasts Journalists For Coverage Of Lembembe Murder; Activists Call for Proper Investigation

Government officials in Cameroon have issued a statement criticising journalists over their coverage of the murder and brutal torture of prominent gay rights activist Eric Ohena Lembembe last week.

6a00d8341c730253ef01901e4a106c970b-250wiThe AFP reports:

In the first official response to the killing of Eric Ohena Lembembe, government spokesman Issa Tchiroma said in a statement that journalists had engaged in "speculation and witch-hunting" in their coverage of the case, which has drawn expressions of concern from the U.S., France, Britain and the U.N.

"Backed by certain civil society activists and at times by some of our compatriots, the international media have launched attacks on our nation, dragging its image into the mud," Tchiroma said. He called for "a maximum of restraint" from civil society and the media while law enforcement authorities conduct an investigation.

"Any interference or untruthfulness of any nature and origin, notably in terms of information rendered public and propagated by the media, can be considered a violation of judicial secrecy or provocative commentary, which is against the law," he said.

Gay rights supporters in that country responded to the blasts:

"I don't trust the justice system, especially when the issue has to do with homosexuality," said Alice Nkom, one of the few lawyers in Cameroon willing to defend suspects charged under the country's anti-gay law. She said those who defend the rights of sexual minorities in Cameroon have long complained of threats and attacks with little response from the government. "It's a scandal for him to invite journalists and then to warn the civil society and foreign media to stop talking about it," she said.

Meanwhile, amid criticism of shoddy police work in the probe of the murder, activists in Cameroon are calling for the government to conduct a proper investigation.

A separate AFP article includes a statement by those activists:

"This crime occurs within a framework of homophobia marked by the silent complicity of authorities to incidents involving many individuals and organisations defending the rights of sexual minorities," 11 human rights groups said in a statement.

The U.S. State Department was quick to respond to Lembembe's murder urging "Cameroonian authorities to thoroughly and promptly investigate and prosecute those responsible for his death."

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  1. What is it with these people who don't seem to have the balls to carry through with their beliefs and convictions? IF you're going to instigate homophobia and go as far as to strongly consider the death penalty for it, then at least have the nerve to own up to what you've instigated.

    It's amazes me how flipping stupid and gutless these people are.

    Posted by: Michael | Jul 21, 2013 4:26:48 PM

  2. "How dare you point out that our country is a backwards cesspool!?"

    Posted by: Steve | Jul 21, 2013 4:34:12 PM

  3. This is even worse. What they're saying, in essence, is "He wasn't murdered because of his involvement with homosexuality, it could have happened to anyone!" Yeah, that's really comforting.

    Posted by: John in Houston | Jul 21, 2013 4:35:59 PM

  4. The typical,weak, ball less response of this administration is repugnant. We should pull all funding and whatever support we give these a--holes, and have nothing to do with them until they change their laws and start acting like human beings.

    Posted by: bructer | Jul 21, 2013 4:53:25 PM

  5. Dragging their foul, steaming, sh!tpile of an image trough the mud would be an improvement. They should be thanking the media for paying them this courtesy.

    Posted by: JJ | Jul 21, 2013 9:44:24 PM

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