Cameroon: Authorities release 7 trans people arrested in anti-gay house raid

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Authorities have released seven transgender men and women arrested on homosexuality-related charges, after police raided a house in Cameroon’s capital of Yaoundé.

Last week, police arrested the men and women after smashing down the door and reportedly discovering men engaged in “prostitution and homosexual acts”.

According to IBT, four of the seven people were released on 8 October for lack of evidence, and the other three were freed earlier this week.

Officials say each individual will remain under close observation.

The police officer who led the arrests, Donatus Sembe, told news agency AP they would be re-arrested and put on trial if they engaged in “any deviant behaviour”.

Last week, he said: “Lesbians, gay men, men who sleep with men, women who sleep with women, men who act that way — all that is illegal. These are people who are controlled by an evil spirit.”

The raid came after the police were alerted by neighbours reported that the home was frequented by ‘effeminate homosexuals’.

Cameron’s penal code, article 347 punishes “sexual relations between persons of the same sex” with up to five years in prison. Amnesty International says that arrests of gay people have increased since 2005.

Last year Cameroonian human rights lawyer Alice Nkom said that life for Cameroon’s gay population had become a lot harder, following the murder of LGBT rights campaigner Eric Ohena Lembembe.