Friday, February 6, 2009

Cameroon: Fighting to Free Those Found 'Guilty' of Homosexuality Cameroon: Fighting to Free Those Found 'Guilty' of Homosexuality (Page 1 of 1)
Cape Town — Christi van der Westhuizen interviews ALICE NKOM, Cameroonian lawyer

In 2003, Alice Nkom made a decision that has put her on a collision course with the police, prosecutors and judges of Cameroon. Nkom, who has been a barrister at the Cameroonian Bar for 40 years, was chatting with some young men whom she considers her own children.

She realised they were gay. Not only that, having gone after school to France to study and only ever living there as out gay men, they were oblivious to the extent of the persecution they faced for expressing their sexuality in Cameroon. Extortion and unfair prosecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are common occurrences in the Francophone west African state.

They were handsome and full of life, talking passionately about their plans. She was struck by the injustice of their situation and felt she had a duty to do something, otherwise "coming back to Cameroon means having to choose to go to jail for who you are, to have one's dignity trampled upon all the time, to be a victim of the police".

She founded the Association for the Defence of Homosexuals and has ever since been acting as defence lawyer for LGBT people in Cameroon....

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