Cameroon police have arrested nine people on suspicion of homosexuality at an HIV/AIDS care centre, an LGBT rights lawyer said on Thursday.
“We arrested them to check if they are homosexuals,” an officer in the town of Bafoussam, where the nine men were arrested said on condition of anonymity.
“By the end of the day, we will see, based on the evidence, whether some may be released and others referred to the prosecutor’s office on Friday,” which will decide whether to charge them. And their crime? Practicing homosexuality, the officer said.
Mr. Nkom explained that the police “decided to search the headquarters of Colibri on the grounds that it is a homosexual association’’, an assertion he denies.
Homosexual practices are prohibited in this Central African nation. The law provides for sentences ranging from 6 months to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to 200,000 FCFA or 300 euros against anyone who has sex with someone of the same sex.
Arrests for alleged homosexuals have dropped significantly in recent years in Cameroon, but they seem to be on the rise again recently, Mr Nkom said. However, Gay sex is a crime punishable with up to five years in prison in the Central African country.
On February 8th, two transgender persons were arrested in Douala, the economic capital. They are still behind bars. Their trial, which began on February 10th, is scheduled to resume on March 10th.