Following their arrest on February 8, Njeuken Loic, a local social media influencer otherwise known as Shakiro, and Mouthe Roland have been jailed for five years for what authorities described as “attempted homosexuality”. According to the Human Rights Watch (HRW), the two women, both of whom identify as trans, were arrested for wearing women’s clothing in public while at a restaurant together.
Prosecutors charged them with attempted homosexual conduct and public indecency, and they were officially sentenced to jail on May 11. Alice Nkom, a lawyer representing the two women condemned the decision to jail the pair, saying: “It’s a political sentence sending a clear, chilling message: ‘We don’t want LGBTQ+ people here in Cameroon.’ We ought to fight this and we will.”
The HRW said Loic and Roland “are the latest victims of a system plagued by absolute disregard for the due process rights of people targeted based on sexual orientation or gender identity”, adding: “Cameroon should repeal its anti-homosexuality laws and stop interfering in Cameroonians’ private lives.”