Huffpost Gay Voices

Roger Jean-Claude Mbede, Cameroon Gay Rights Icon, Dead At 35

Posted: Updated:
ROGER JEANCLAUDE MBEDE
In this July 2012 photo, Roger Jean-Claude Mbede poses for a picture in the home of a friend where he had sought refuge, in Yaounde, Cameroon. Mbede, a gay man who was jailed for sending a text message to another man saying 'I'm very much in love with you,' and who was later declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, died on Friday after his family removed him from the hospital where he had been seeking treatment for a hernia, lawyer Alice Nkom said. 'His family said he was a cu | ASSOCIATED PRESS

Roger Jean-Claude Mbede, a symbol for gay rights in Cameroon, where homosexuality is illegal, has died at the age of 35, his lawyer said on Monday.

"Roger died on Friday evening, probably from his illness," Saskia Ditisheim said.

Mbede suffered from testicular cancer and had an operation in July 2013.

"Roger was the symbol for the gay rights struggle in Cameroon," she added.

Roger's brother said he had been "expressionless for two weeks and had stopped eating," said the lawyer.

She added his family would be taken to court for refusing him treatment due to his sexuality.

Mbede was arrested in March 2011 for sending a text message reading "I'm very in love with you" to an official in the Cameroonian presidency.

He was sentenced to three years behind bars in April of that year. Homosexuality carries a sentence of up to five years in Cameroon.

However, he was freed pending an appeal and returned to his village.

"He will remain alive in our hearts as we continue our struggle" to decriminalise homosexuality in Cameroon, Ditisheim said.

Also on HuffPost:

Close
Gay Pride Around The World
of
Share
Tweet
Advertisement
Share this
close
Current Slide

Suggest a correction