Five HIV and LGBTI activists successfully escape conviction for homosexuality in Cameroon. The Police arrested the five men who work for the HIV and LGBTI rights organization Avenir Jeune de l’Ouest (Youthful Future of the West), last month.
Like many other African countries, Cameroon is considered one of the worst places in the world to be LGBTI. Queer people there face arrests, mob violence, assaults, torture and murder. Gay sex is outlawed under Article 347-1 of the Penal Code in Cameroon. People convicted of homosexuality face jail terms of up to five years.
The men were detained in Dschang, Yaoundé. A collective of organizations including, Global Fund, pooled together resources to send a lawyer to the men from Yaoundé. The Lawyer; Jatan Ndongo, managed to negotiate the men’s release ahead of two public holiday weekends. They said their mental health would have suffered even more if their jail time was prolonged.
‘Our executive director’s health is already in an alarming state (due to the imprisonment) and our other peers are also fragile,’ staff from Avenir Jeune de l’Ouest wrote on Facebook.
‘We can imagine the psychological damage they have suffered following this brutal imprisonment.’
A judge in the local court released the men, but ordered they return for anal exams according to a report in 76 Crimes. Anal exams are outlawed around the world, but some countries still use them to prove a man’s homosexuality.
Forced anal examinations are based on long-discredited 19th century science. They involve doctors or other medical personnel forcibly inserting their fingers, and sometimes other objects, into a person’s anus. It is an attempt to determine whether that person has engaged in anal intercourse.
The General Assembly of the World Medical Association (WMA) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have called for the practice to stop. The United Nations described forced anal exams as torture. Ndongo ordered his clients not to turn up to the anal exams because they are an invasive practice.