Cameroon: Gay rights supporting lawyer’s children receives death threats

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A lawyer in Cameroon, who has made a career of defending gay rights, has been on the receiving end of death threats, along with members of his family.

In November 2011, Michel Togue unsuccessfully fought to prevent three gay men from going to jail in the country, having been given sentences of five years.

Mr Togue has now told AFP that he fears for the safety of his family and children, saying: “For two weeks we have been receiving death threats from unidentified people.”

The lawyer, who has reported the threats to the police, said they were made in telephone calls and text messages, first to the headmaster of the school of his oldest son, and then to his wife and himself.

His wife was asked in one call “which of her children she would sacrifice so her husband will give up defending homosexuals,” Mr Tongue said, in an email to a human rights group that was received by AFP.

One of the threats menacingly said: “Mr Togue, choose which child we shall turn into a queer like you. Then you will know what you are defending… Even white queers’ assistance will not save them.”

Earlier this week Alice Nkom, a lawyer and colleague of Mr Togue revealed that she had also received death threats due to her LGBT legal advocacy work.

One text message read: “Lesbian whore, it’s your turn to suffer. Watch your back well as your security is very weak. We will give you a demonstration when the moment comes. No respite for gays in our country.”

Ms Nkom said that the threats also targeted her children, but she vowed that it will not “discourage me from my fight”.

Last week, the US, EU and several campaign groups urged for the release of two Cameroonian men, convicted under the country’s anti-gay laws.

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