A Cameroon appeal court on Monday overturned the convictions of two men found guilty of homosexuality and sentenced to five years in jail for cross-dressing and wearing make-up.
Homosexuality is illegal in Cameroon but recent incidents have highlighted
growing tension between a largely conservative society and a younger generation
less concerned by the issue. The two men, Singa Kimie (also known as Jonas Singa Kumie) and Ndjome Francky (also known as Franky Djome), were convicted in November 2011 and had already spent over a year
Their lawyer, Alice Nkom, who campaigns for gay rights, said the
court's decision had been expected. "Their conviction was against the law because they were not actually seen or
caught doing anything at the time the police arrested them," she said.
"They were arrested because they were just seen wearing women's clothes and
because of the nature of their make-up, and only suspected to be homosexuals,
which is against Cameroon law. That is why we appealed." Homosexuality is illegal in many African countries. In Cameroon, the
penalties range from six months to five years in jail. In 2011, there were 12