Homosexuality is common in the men's prison

Cameroon: Five years of male prison for two trans * women

Two trans * women in Cameroon have been sentenced to five years in a male prison for “attempted homosexuality” and “public immorality”. A death sentence, warn human rights activists. Her offense: women's clothes.

A Cameroonian court sentenced Shakiro and Patricia on May 11 for “attempted homosexuality”, “public immorality” and a lack of identification documents to five years in prison and a fine of 200,000 CFA francs, the equivalent of around 305 euros. If they are unable to pay the fine, their imprisonment is extended for a further twelve months.

What happened?

Shakiro is a well-known social media influencer in Cameroon. In her videos on YouTube, she addresses the problems of the LGBTIQ * community in Cameroon and also talks about her gender identity. This commitment was now apparently her undoing. On February 8, she and her friend Patricia visited a restaurant in the city of Douala. The police arrested them because they were wearing women's clothes and allegedly had no ID. They had to sign a confession that they were not allowed to read beforehand. They were also prohibited from contacting a lawyer or family.

Judgment is "political decision"

The Human rights activist and lawyer of the two women Alice Nkom stressed that the verdict - the maximum penalty for 'offenses' of this kind - is "a political decision" and sends "a clear, terrifying message:' We don't want LGBT people here in Cameroon." "

Another Lawyer of the two women, Richard Tamfu, told the Guardian: “We know that the Cameroonian penal code says that homosexuality is punishable [with] between six months and five years. For someone who has been charged with attempted homosexuality and is getting five years, it's very hard. "

“The effect is to send a clear message to the LGBT + community that they are not welcome in Cameroon. They should know that if they are arrested they can be imprisoned for five years. "

The situation for LGBTIQ * in Cameroon is devastating: mortal danger!

According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), Cameroon, where same-sex relationships are illegal, has seen a "general surge in police action" against sexual minorities in recent months. A total of 53 people have been arrested in raids since May 2020. There have been reports of recurring ill-treatment and human rights violations.

Shakiro and Patricia also experienced abuse while in custody. A member of a Cameroonian LGBTIQ * organization said that Shakiro and Patricia were beaten at the police station and threatened with death. They were also harassed by fellow prisoners. LGBTIQ * organizations agree:

Five years imprisonment in a Cameroonian male prison is equivalent to a death sentence for trans * women. In pre-trial detention it is customary to accommodate more than 30 men in an area of ​​10 square meters, and many inmates have to sleep on the floor.