Cameroon court acquits 2 men imprisoned for 'looking gay'
January 10, 2013 -- Updated 2341 GMT (0741 HKT)
- The men were sentenced in November 2011
- Group: The judge stated they were homosexuals because they wore women's clothes and drank Bailey's Irish Cream
- In 2011, a court sentenced both to five years in prison
- Homosexuality is illegal in Cameroon
(CNN) -- A Cameroon appeals court has acquitted two men found guilty of homosexuality because they wore women's clothes and ordered a cream-based liqueur, according to rights groups.
Jonas Kimie and Franky Ndome were arrested outside a nightclub and sentenced to five years in prison in November 2011
"The acquittal of two Cameroonian men jailed for looking gay because they wore women's clothes exposes the systematic discrimination against perceived homosexuals in the country," Amnesty International said in a statement.
The conviction was based on stereotypes because authorities never saw them engage in homosexual acts, according to their lawyer.
Cameroon's life-lesson 'Aunties'
Proposed laws target gays in Uganda
"The judge who originally sentenced them had stated that the way they dressed, the way they spoke, and the fact that they drank Bailey's Irish Cream proved they were gay," their lawyer, Alice N'Kom, told global gay rights group All Out, which launched a petition demanding the men's release.
The court overturned the conviction Monday, but it was unclear whether they have left prison.
Homosexuality is illegal in Cameroon, where sodomy laws were introduced during colonialism. Sentences for homosexual acts vary between six months to five years.
Rights groups applauded the ruling, but called on the nation to free others imprisoned under anti-gay laws.
Last month, a Cameroon appeals court upheld a three-year sentence against a man convicted of homosexuality for texting his male friend to say, "I'm very much in love with you."
The university student was arrested in 2011 after the man who received the message tipped off authorities.
Authorities in the west African nation were not immediately available for comment.
A series of countries have criminalized homosexuality, but prosecutions are rare.
In Uganda, homosexual acts are punishable by 14 years to life, but lawmakers are trying to introduce a bill that toughens the law.
Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
Today's five most popular stories