Jean Claude Roger Mbede with Alice N’kom

Seven men jailed simply for being gay in Cameroon have issued a joint New Year’s message urging their supporters not to give up on them, reports LGBT Asylum News.

“Although you’ve accompanied us with a lot of sadness, you’ve especially shown us a lot of kindness, love and determination throughout this year,” said the men.

“We exhort you to never give up in to the discouragement and to never weaken in your mobilization for us and for the LGBT cause. Because your support represents for LGBT in Cameroon in general and specially for us who are in prison… the HOPE. The HOPE to be one day, released from the PRISON in which we’ve been thrown, but also the HOPE that one day, LGBT people can walk quite freely in Cameroon, without any humiliation.

“We wish you, from the bottom of our heart, to be of happy, healthy and that the coming year be full of promises and success.

Happy New Year”.

The message was signed by Jean Claude Roger Mbede, Singha Jonas, Ndome Ndome Frankie, Ombwa Joseph Magloire, Tiomela Lontsie Emma, Ntamack Nicolas and Ntsama Séraphin.

Activists also released a new picture of Mbede, who was sentenced to three years in jail in April last year, standing with LGBT activist and lawyer Alice N’kom in prison.

Human Rights Watch claims that in the first half of 2011 at least ten individuals were arrested under Cameroon’s anti-sodomy law which sets down penalties of up to five years in prison.

Activists claim that while the government is revising the Penal Code it will continue to criminalise homosexually and could actually increase the penalties under the law. They say that this is being kept under wraps to avoid international condemnation.

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