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Two Transgender Women In Cameroon Sentenced For “Attempted Homosexuality”

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Two Cameroon transgender women were sentenced to five years in jail for “attempted homosexuality” and public indecency according to lawyers. They were also convicted of public indecency and failure to bear identification documents.

The Cameroon transgender women Shakiro, a local social media celebrity, and Patricia were taken into custody on February 8, 2020. They received a maximum sentence of five years in prison and were fined 200,000 CFA francs (27,147 rupees). If Shakiro and Patricia cannot pay the penalties, they will face another year in prison along with their five-year sentence.

One of the lawyers, Alice Nkom said that the conviction was “a political decision” and added that she would appeal the verdict. Nkom said that the central government said that people “must not bring homosexuality to Cameroon”.

Alice Nkom is also the president of the Cameroonian Association for the Defense of Homosexual Rights. She called the conviction “beyond ridiculous” and added that it was unacceptable and not legal. Another lawyer, Richard Tamfu said that they would appeal the verdict since there is no proof of homosexuality.

Cameroon is one of the 31 African countries where gay sex is criminalised. Several people have been sentenced to jail for “alleged homosexuality”.

Human rights activists claim that their conviction is part of the criminalisation of members of the LGBTQ+ community. In April, the Human Rights Watch said that the persecution of LGBTQ+ people had intensified in Cameroon. The organisation said that “an overall uptick in police action” against sexual minorities was recorded. The Human Rights Watch (HRW) also said that since May 2020, 53 people have been arrested in raids on HIV and AIDS organisations.

According to HRW, several people reported being beaten by the police after they were taken into custody.