Last month, I blogged about a Camerounian man jailed on charges of homosexuality.
This week, I have an update on the status of the case against the man. My organization, the Homosexuality Defense Association, or ADEFHO, just got the minutes from the last interrogation from June 21, 2009, the date the accused appeared before the magistrate.
At present, Alice Nkom (President of ADEFHO), who is representing the defendant, believes that the judge has all the information he needs to allow him to close the investigation on this case, in which it appears that there is no longer a plaintiff or a witness.
The family of the supposed victim hasn’t responded to the summons from the magistrate, and the medical certificate needed to link the accused to the accuser states that there was no evidence of sodomy.
The attorney has in effect proven through her submissions to the court that the prosecution lacks legal bases, while the detainment, arrest, custody and subsequent preventative detention violate the fundamental tenants of the Penal Code.
At this stage of the judicial proceedings, the judge must either close the investigation, or send the defendant to the Tribunal to face trial without charge, without accuser, and without proof.
Ms. Nkom is waiting to see what the judge will do in order to know what the next step will be.
That’s all the information we have right now on this particular case, but I’d like you remind you that, unfortunately, this case is just one more example of a long history of homophobia in Cameroun. Over a dozen people have been jailed on similar charges in this country since 2005. All of these arrests were men, but the situation is dire for people of all genders, as most Camerounians don’t acknowledge that women who want to have relationships with other women even exist.
I will certainly continue to keep you posted as we find out more.
Sebastien Mandeng is a candidate to become a lawyer as well as a human rights advocate in Cameroun. He currently works as the Vice-President of the Homosexuality Defense Association (ADEFHO). For more information about this case, or about defending homosexuality in Cameroun, you can contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.