Eric Ohena Lembembe Hub




Three Held For Questioning In Eric Ohena Lembembe Murder

The three were detained yesterday in relation to the brutal murder earlier this month.

The AFP reports:

6a00d8341c730253ef01910455ebc2970c-800wiThe three who were ordered held by criminal investigators in Yaounde are former colleagues of the activist, a lawyer close to the case told AFP on the condition of anonymity.

"We don't know what the police found," he added. Alice Nkom, lawyer for the Lembembe family, denounced what she called a botched investigation and cast doubt on the decision to question the three.

"Since we formulated reservations over how the investigation was conducted, they want to find any 'guilty ones,'" Nkom said. An officer close to the probe appeared to dismiss suggestions that the attack was homophobic. "We were at the scene of the murder. We have found a certain number of clues. There will be a rapid unfolding of events and people who believe it was a homophobic act risk being surprised," he said.


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."


'Born This Way' Documents Fierce Oppression of Underground LGBT Community in Cameroon: VIDEO

Bornthisway

Wtih regard to the recent brutal killing of Cameroonian gay rights activist Eric Ohena Lembembe, Shaun Kadlec and Deb Tullmann are the filmmakers behind Born This Way, a documentary about the underground LGBT community in Cameroon which is now on the festival circuit.

Btw2They provided this statement to Towleroad regarding Lembembe's death:

“We spent nearly three months in Cameroon shooting Born This Way, a documentary about the underground LGBT movement there. We were overwhelmed by the power of the love and courage of those who fight for justice in Cameroon, and the film aims to communicate this. While we never met Eric Lembembe, Yves Yomb and several other heroic activists are featured. Cameroon has consistently been the most egregious violator of rights of gay and lesbian people in the world, imprisoning more people for their perceived sexual orientation than anywhere on the planet.

Gertrude Metsiegoum, also featured in the film, is currently in San Francisco as part of the film tour. Our hearts go out to her and all of our friends in Cameroon. The time for change is now, before more lives are lost. This tragedy will not stop the fight for LGBT rights in Cameroon”

Watch the film's trailer, AFTER THE JUMP...

Btw3They add, of the film:

LGBT right supporters and out homosexuals in Cameroon have come under a series of attacks in recent weeks. On June 26th, assailants set fire to the Alternatives-Cameroun (featured in the film) office in Douala. On June 16th, assailants broke into the Yaoundé office of a prominent human rights lawyer, Michel Togué, stealing confidential information.

On June 1, a burglary took place at the Douala headquarters of the Central African Human Rights Defenders Network (REDHAC). The two most recent attacks targeted groups supporting the rights of LGBTI people, leading activists to attribute homophobic motives to the perpetrators. Born This Way is not only an eye-opening work of art, but also a key component of a global campaign to raise awareness about an unjust, anachronistic law and the compromised legal system that enforces it. Lyrical imagery, devastating homophobia, glimpses of American culture and a hidden-camera courtroom drama coalesce into a story of what is possible in the global fight for equality.

Find the film's website here. It will be screening next Saturday as part of Houston's QFest.

The U.S. State Department just released a statement on Lembembe's death. Find it here.

2_bornthisway

Continue reading "'Born This Way' Documents Fierce Oppression of Underground LGBT Community in Cameroon: VIDEO" »


U.S. State Dept: We Condemn the Murder of Cameroonian Gay Rights Activist Eric Ohena Lembembe

Yesterday, Towleroad reported that Eric Ohena Lembembe, a prominent gay rights activist in Cameroon, was found dead at his home after being brutally tortured.

LembembeThe U.S. State Department has now released a statement about Lembembe's death. It comes from Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf:

We deplore the brutal murder of Eric Ohena Lembembe, who was found tortured to death in his home in Yaoundé yesterday. We condemn this terrible act in the strongest terms and urge the Cameroonian authorities to thoroughly and promptly investigate and prosecute those responsible for his death.

Eric Ohena Lembembe was the Executive Director of Cameroonian Foundation for AIDS (CAMFAIDS), an organization dedicated to the fight against AIDS and for the human rights of LGBT people in Cameroon. Just two weeks ago, Mr. Lembembe spoke out against the recent break-ins at the offices of groups advocating for gay rights. The local office of one organization, Alternatives-Cameroun, was set on fire on June 26th.

The United States actively promotes respect for the human rights of all people, including LGBT individuals, in Cameroon and around the world. We will continue to support activists, like Mr. Lembembe, who stand up for the human rights of all people, regardless of who they are or who they love.

Human Rights Watch's Neela Shoshal spoke with Radio France International about Lembembe, with whom she closely worked. Listen below:


Prominent Gay Rights Activist in Cameroon Found Dead, Tortured

Human Rights Watch reports that Eric Ohena Lembembe, a gay rights activist and journalist, was found dead at his home on July 15 in Yaoundé, Cameroon. He had been brutally tortured:

LembembeLembembe’s friends discovered his body on Monday evening after being unable to reach him by telephone for two days, and went to his home. They found his front door padlocked on the outside, but could see Lembembe’s body lying on his bed through the window. Lembembe’s friends alerted the police, who broke down the door. According to one friend, Lembembe’s neck and feet appeared to have been broken, and his face, hands, and feet had been burned with an iron.

Lembembe was one of Cameroon’s most prominent LGBTI rights activists. On behalf of CAMFAIDS, he collaborated closely with Human Rights Watch and two other Cameroonian organizations, Alternatives-Cameroun and the Association for the Defense of Homosexuals (ADEFHO), in researching and launching a March 2013 report on prosecutions for consensual same-sex conduct. He also participated in drafting a submission for Cameroon’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in May 2013 at the United Nations Human Rights Council. Lembembe was also a contributor to the blog “Erasing 76 Crimes” and authored several chapters in a book on LGBTI rights around the world, From Wrongs to Gay Rights. His organization assiduously documented arrests, violence, and blackmail against LGBTI people in Cameroon.

The group adds that Lembembe's murder has been preceded by a number of attacks, unchecked by the government, on LGBT and human rights organizations:

Lembembe’s killing follows several attacks on the offices of human rights defenders, including those working for equal rights for LGBTI people. On June 26, 2013, unidentified assailants burned down the Douala headquarters of Alternatives-Cameroun, which provides HIV services to LGBTI people. A few days earlier on June 16, the Yaoundé office of human rights lawyer Michel Togué, who represents clients charged with same-sex conduct, was burgled, and his legal files and laptop stolen. Both Togué and Alice Nkom, another lawyer who represents LGBTI clients, have received repeated death threats by email and SMS, including threats to kill their children. Although activists have reported all of these incidents, the Cameroonian authorities have not apprehended a single suspect.

HRW is urging authorities to conduct an immediate and thorough investigation.

Lembembe contributed to the blog 76 Crimes, which notes that one of its most popular articles was "What traditional African homosexuality learned from the West".

They add:

That article is included in the book From Wrongs to Gay Rights, along with his articles about Roger Mbede, who was imprisoned because of an amorous text message to a man; Franky Djome and Jonas Kumie, who were imprisoned because they are a transgender couple; anti-gay blackmailer/extortioner Albert Edward Ekobo Samba; and the homophobic attack on last year’s IDAHO celebration in Yaoundé.

He formerly worked as a writer and editor for the monthly Tribune du Citoyen in Cameroon.


Trending



Towleroad - Blogged