Two transgender women in Cameroon were found guilty of “attempted homosexuality” after being arrested in a restaurant for dressing in women’s clothing, Reuters reports. They face a sentence of up to five years in prison each.
A local social media celebrity known as Shakiro, who also is identified as Loic Njeukam, and Patricia, also identified as Roland Mouthe, were arrested on February 8th and also charged with public indecency and failing to carry identification. Cameroon is one of 39 countries in Africa where homosexuality is illegal.
“This is a political decision,” said one of the lawyers, Alice Nkom. “It’s Yaounde (the central government) that said these people must not bring homosexuality to Cameroon.” Nkom said she would appeal the decision to a higher court.
More than 50 people have been arrested in the last twelve months as the government cracks down on the LGBTQ community. Police have conducted raids on HIV/AIDS clinics and organizations, conducting “anal examinations” patients and workers to, they say, confirm homosexual activity.