Thursday, November 28, 2013

Cameroon: Rights activists want Lembembe’s murderers punished

By Tarhyang Enowbikah Tabe
Over three months after the murder of gay rights activist and journalist, Eric Ohena Lembembe, human rights activists and the civil society say they are still pressuring government to bring his murderers to book.
Barrister Alice Nkom, his lawyer, says there has been no credible effort to investigate Lembembe’s death or collect the elements necessary for a good investigation.

    It would be recalled that Lembembe, who was the Executive Director of CAMFAIDS, a human rights organization working to protect the rights of sexual minorities in Cameroon, was on Monday July15 , 2013 found murdered in his home in Yaounde.

Because of the spate of homophobic attacks in Cameroon, there was strong speculation that Eric's death was connected to his sexual orientation and related activism.

   While homosexuality is illegal in Cameroon with a maximum sentence of five years in jail, there is also widespread homophobia.

Some people have been jailed for homosexual activity. The most recent is that of Joseph Ombga and another underage youth, who were jailed for homosexual charges. Ombga was handed a two-year jail term while the underage youth had a suspended one-year jail sentence.

Ombga was arrested at his home in August 2011 and had been charged with sex with a minor after he was arrested in the company of the youth to whom he wanted to sell a porn video, his lawyers said.

    Another case of rights abuse is reportedly that of a general manager, whose name we got as Gerald Tabot Tiku who has been charged for public indecency and homosexuality and was detained from March 1 to May 10 and had appeared for hearing on September 10, 2013.

   Reports say he was molested by the security agents during his period of detention and during his trial he was refused the right to a lawyer.

His final hearing and judgment was slated for November 20, 2013 since then he is nowhere to be found.

    The court has therefore issued a warrant of arrest plus the population wants to see him punished since they believe that the act of homosexuality is against the local customs and beliefs of the African culture. His male sex partner has been on the run since state start the prosecution process.

The worst of it is that his employer who is one of the main witnesses of the case backing the state is threatening to dismiss him if he maintains his sexual orientation.

    There is also a similar situation with a certain Jean-Claude Roger Mbede, who was arrested by security forces for sending SMS messages to a male acquaintance and sentenced to three years imprisonment.

Meanwhile, homosexuality is reportedly wrecking homes and splitting families. Some homosexuals are either ostracized by their families and community when their sexual orientation is discovered.

No comments: