Publisher jailed after printing gay list

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The newspaper publisher who outed prominent public figures he thought were gay in Cameroon has been jailed for defamation.

Jean Pierre Amougo Belinga, publisher of L’Anecdote, was jailed for four months for defaming a government minister who was named in a list of 50 presumed homosexuals in the African country where homosexuality is illegal.

He was ordered to pay symbolic compensation of 1 CFA franc to one government minister, Gregoire Owona, and a 1 million CFA francs (1,044 pounds) penalty to the state. Reuters news agency reported that he would also have to arrange for the judgement to be published on 15 local and international newspapers, radio and television. The publisher must pay 300,000 CFA francs to the official for every day that passes without publication of the judgement.

Mr Owona sued Mr Belinga last month after his name was included on a controversial list of which Cameroonian tabloids claimed was a crusade against “deviant behaviour”

The court ruled that the paper had no evidence that Mr Owona was gay and had damaged his reputation.

Homosexuality is a crime in Cameroon punishable by between six months and five years in prison, and a fine.

Last month Mr Belinga told Reuters, “Men making love to other men … is filthy. It may be normal in the West, but in Africa and Cameroon in particular, it is unthinkable.”