Cameroon Frees Jailed Transgender Women Pending Appeal

Authorities in Cameroon have provisionally released two transgender women sentenced to five years in prison for “attempted homosexuality,” public indecency and failure to carry identification.

The women were also fined 200,000 CFA francs.

The trans duo – YouTuber Shakiro and her friend Patricia – were arrested at a restaurant on 8 February 2021. They were sentenced in May and taken to a prison in Douala to serve the jail term.

However, according to their lawyer, Alice Nkom, another court has ordered the pair’s release until their appeal is heard in September.

Nkom adds that she expects the trans women to be released from prison by Friday morning.

Cameroon and Nigeria – both neighbours – are two of the 31 African countries that criminalise homosexual relationships. Human Rights Watch alleges that, since February, no fewer than 24 people, including a 17-year-old boy, have been arrested by Cameroonian authorities, beaten, or threatened for same-sex relations.

The group attributed the arrest as part of a crackdown on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

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