Gay ‘prisoner of conscience’ dies in Cameroon

A Cameroonian man who was jailed for sending a text message to another man saying ‘I’m very much in love with you’ and labeled a ‘curse’ by his family has died.

Roger Jean-Claude Mbédé, 34, died on Friday (10 January) in Cameroon after his family removed him from hospital where he was seeking treatment for a hernia, according to a lawyer who worked on his case.

Mbédé was arrested in March 2011 after texting another man with the message ‘I’m very much in love with you’. He was convicted the following month and sentenced to three years in jail under a Cameroonian law that imposes up to five years in prison for homosexual acts.

Lawyer Alice Nkom said: ‘His family said he was a curse for them and that we should let him die.’

He was declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International following his incarceration.