gay_prisoners_beaten_tortured_in_cameroon_prisonIn a shocking development, an HIV and LGBT human rights organisation has discovered a group of 10 previously unknown people jailed for homosexuality in a Cameroon prison.

In a statement, CAMFAIDS said that it identified the prisoners, who had been arbitrarily detained on the basis of their perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity, during recent visits to the central prison in the capital Yaounde .

“Many of these detainees were beaten or tortured by police and prison staff, which encourages other prisoners to abuse the detainees too,” said the organisation on Monday,

It noted that these abuses were in spite of a commitment by Cameroon during its Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in September to take action to end torture in prisons.

CAMFAIDS called on the government to “investigate torture by the central police and judicial police of the city of Yaounde of persons in their custody” and to investigate the Lac gendarmerie “which is known for torture by abusive guards and for its homophobic investigators”.

It also urged the prison superintendent to “provide immediate protection for incarcerated members of sexual minorities”.

At its UNHRC Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights, Cameroon rejected recommendations to ensure people’s basic rights not to be killed, raped, or assaulted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Homosexuality is punishable by up to five years in prison as well as fines in Cameroon, said to have the highest rate of conviction of LGBT people in the world.

In July, leading Cameroonian LGBT activist Eric Ohena Lembembe was mutilated and murdered in his home. Two weeks earlier, he’d publicly condemned the state’s inaction following several attacks on human rights defenders. Lembembe’s murder remains unsolved.

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