Cameroon appears to be further clamping down on its LGBTI community following the arrest of four more men on charges of homosexuality.
AFP reports that the men – aged 17 to 46 – were remanded in custody on Friday. Two of the men have also been charged with “indecent behaviour involving a minor”.
One of the men was, according to his lawyer, arrested at home when “somebody turned up and asked to see a ‘gay film’ in his company”.
Late last month three men were arrested when they were stopped in a car by police after leaving a bar in the capital YaoundÃ©. One man was released while the other two were set to appear in court on August 18, but their fate is as yet unclear.
In March, Jean-Claude Roger Mbede was arrested by Cameroon’s security service while meeting an acquaintance. On 28 April, he was found guilty of homosexuality and attempted homosexuality and sentenced to three years in jail.
Homosexuality is illegal under Cameroon’s penal code with penalties of up to five years in prison.
According to Amnesty International, which classified Mbede as a ‘prisoner of conscience’, homophobia is endemic in Cameroonian society and the arrests, prosecutions and trials of gay men occur on a regular basis.
LGBT rights group the Association pour la DÃ©fense de l’HomosexualitÃ© (ADEFHO) claims that the government is planning to categorise consensual same-sex sexual activity with anyone between the ages of 16 and 21 as paedophilia. The legal of consent for heterosexuals in Cameroon is 16.