Cameroon: IGLHRC Mourns the Loss of Jean-Claude Roger Mbede

(15 January 2014, Johannesburg) "The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission deeply mourns the loss of Jean-Claude Roger Mbede, Cameroonian human rights defender, who passed away last week.”

Roger Mbede was unjustly sent to prison on March 9, 2011 after he was convicted and sentenced to three years in jail under Section 347a of the Cameroonian Penal Code. His crime? He sent a text to another man saying, "I am very much in love with you."

Mbede spent 16 months in prison before being released on July 16, 2012 for health reasons. Since that time he and members of his legal team received repeated death threats.

Damian Ugwu, former Program Coordinator for Africa at IGLHRC, said “Sitting in the room of the Cameroonian High Court in Yaoundé, on September 17, 2012, beside Roger’s friends and family, learning that Roger’s appeal hearing was again postponed, I was overwhelmed with emotion. The repeated delays and postponement of justice was a particularly cruel punishment for a ‘crime’ as simple as a declaration of love.”

Roger was an activist, a colleague, and, above all, a friend. The memory of Roger lives on in the many tributes to him.

Additional information about Roger's case can be found here:

Cameroon: Justice Delayed for Jean-Claude Roger Mbede
Cameroon: End ‘Discriminatory’ Anti-Gay Laws

Contact: Roberta Sklar, rsklar@iglhrc.org, +1 917 704 6358