Group takes Cameroon gay right activism online, petitions govt
A pro homosexuality organization in Cameroon called All Out has launched an online petition on its website in which it is calling on President Paul Biya and the nation's justice minister to allow Roger Jean-Claude Mbédé, who was arrested after he sent a text message and placed a moratorium on Cameroon's discriminatory anti-gay laws, to regain his freedom
In Cameroon and several other African countries, homosexuality remains a criminal offence with a jail sentence ranging from six months to five years on conviction in addition to a substantial fine.
According to All Out, random arrests are often made without convincing evidences that could warrant a guilty plea. However, at trials, victims of such arrests don't often have access to substantial legal counsel. They also suffer numerous abuses and are often afraid to press charges.
With the Internet however, the organization said it is now determined to change the landscape. Currently, it has a Free Roger Now petition on its website and a global audience that exceeds 110,000 in just six weeks has already signed the petition.
Cameroon's anti-gay laws as described in the petition "deny basic human rights to many Cameroonians like Roger and create an environment of hostility and fear."
Apart from freeing Roger, All Out, through the petition, also seeks to put an end to the enforcement of anti-gays laws in the country which All Out said make it "a crime to love who you choose and encourage their permanent repeal."
According to the organization, in addition to creating a forum for homosexuals and those who are sympathetic for the cause, it also gives the people of Cameroon safer way to fight for the respect of fundamental human rights.