A group of human rights activists have described today’s conviction of Loic Midrel Njeukam and Mouthe Roland as unfair and inhumane.
Nkwain Hamlet, Director of a human rights group called “Working for our well-being” told journalists that: “We expected the court to set these boys free – but they have instead been sentenced. This government is indirectly telling everyone that this country is not for homosexuals. This is not true, because they are Cameroonians and their rights need to be respected”.
The Court of First Instance, Bonanjo – in Cameroon’s economic capital, Douala this Tuesday, May 11, 2021, sentenced Loic Midrel Njeukam popularly known as Shakiro and Mouthe Roland alias Patricia to five years in jail each.
Shakiro and Patricia were found guilty of homosexuality, indecency and non-possession of national identity cards.
Nkwain Hamlet says he was shocked when the verdict was handed down. “I condemned the sentence with strong terms because it is a verdict without concrete evidence… I left the court this afternoon very disappointed,” Hamlet told reporters after the hearing.
As a lawyer who has stood for gay rights in Cameroon for decades, Barrister Alice Nkom agrees with Hamlet saying: “the boys were arrested while they were eating in a local restaurant. To sentence someone for homosexuality; the court needs concrete evidence to prove their guilt. The court failed to do so.”
Shakiro and Patricia will each pay a fine of two hundred thousand francs (370 USD) into the state treasury with thirty-six thousand to the court.
Meanwhile, it remains unclear if defending lawyers will appeal the verdict.
Those of he queer community have also been expressing there feelings over the verdict, with one twitter user describing it as unjust.
In Cameroon, the law is against homosexuality with those found guilty of the practice serve between six months to five years in prison – with other financial obligations.
Shakiro and Patricia who were arrested in February 2021 are currently being detained at New Bell Central Prison in Douala.
Many Cameroonians via their social media posts – say they are satisfied with the ruling.