Seven gay men were arrested in Cameroon last week after being caught at a party during a police raid. Authorities reported discovering guests of the party actively participating in “prostitution and homosexual acts,” a punishable offense under Cameroon’s penal code. Those persecuted under article 347, which relates specifically to homosexuality, run the risk of being imprisoned for up to five years for having “sexual relations between persons of the same sex.”
The raid and arrests come after a months-long moratorium on the Cameroonian police harassing LGBT individuals gathering in private, according to 76crimes. Police were made aware of the gathering after neighbors of the host called in with concerns about the home being frequented by “effeminate homosexuals.” The unnamed owner of the house and another guest narrowly avoided arrest by fleeing to the roof of the home and escaping from the premises.
Cameroonian laws regarding LGBT individuals have been called into question by both Human Rights watch and Amnesty International for being grounded in homophobic stereotypes and trickery.
“Lesbians, gay men, men who sleep with men, women who sleep with women, men who act that way — all that is illegal,” said Donatus Sembe, lead officer behind the arrests. “These are people who are controlled by an evil spirit.”