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09th Jan 2013

Men Jailed for ‘Being Gay’ After Ordering a Bailey’s Have Conviction Overturned

"The way the men dressed... spoke and the fact that they drank Bailey's Irish Cream proved they were gay". How one judge in an African court justified his decision to jail two men.

Rebecca McKnight

It was only in 1993 that same-sex sexual activity was decriminalised in this country – but twenty years on stories like this are still making headlines in other parts of the world.

A court in Cameroon this week overturned the conviction of two men who had previously been sentenced to five years in prison.

Their crime? “Looking gay” and ordering a Bailey’s. The two were jailed in 2011 and had already spent over a year in prison before Monday’s verdict. They had been arrested for allegedly having oral sex in a bar in the county’s capital, a charge that both men denied.

Their lawyer, Alice Nkom said the judge who convicted the men had been influenced by “stereotypes”, and stated that “the way the men dressed… spoke and the fact that they drank Bailey’s Irish Cream proved they were gay”.

Previously speaking to the BBC Ms Nkom told how the Court of Appeals last month upheld the sentencing to five years in prison of another Cameroon man for sending a text that said ‘I love you’ to another man. She will represent this man in a challenge to the Supreme Court.