Following ongoing death threats and harassment due to his defence of gay people in Cameroon, human rights lawyer Michel Togué has had his offices burgled.
Togué is one of the few lawyers in Cameroon willing to take on LGBT clients. He has received death threats against him and his children in connection with his work since October last year.
In November, fearing for their safety, Togué sent his family to the US and has requested asylum for them.
The lawyer, who is currently working on around ten cases involving homosexuality, has now seen his offices burgled. According to 76crimes.com, the offices were broken into on 16 June.
The thieves made off with his laptop, passport, USB memory devices and confidential material. Strangely, an envelope containing nearly 1,300 euros was not taken.
“This is not a simple burglary,” Togué told the site. “It is obvious that this unexpected visit is because of my commitment to human rights, because people have been going out of their way recently to threaten me personally for my work defending LGBT people.”
He added: “The problems of an emerging country such as ours cannot be solved by intimidation or attempts to gag human rights defenders. The rule of law, to be worthy of the name, must respect the rights of everyone, including activists. These acts are totally despicable and cowardly.”
TTogué has been praised by former secretary of state Hillary Clinton for fighting “tirelessly to defend LGBT persons”. She also applauded “his commitment and his courage”.
Consensual same-sex conduct is criminalised under the Cameroonian penal code, and at least 28 people have been prosecuted under the law since 2010.