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Cameroonian gay rights activist tortured and killed

Eric Ohena Lembembe killed after warning against 'anti-gay thugs'

Eric Ohena Lembembe was a gay-rights leader in Cameroon. Credit: Eric Lembembe
A Cameroonian gay rights activist has been tortured and killed, according to Human Rights Watch and the Associated Press. 
 
Eric Ohena Lembembe had been missing for two days before friends discovered his burned and broken body at his home in the Cameroonian capital of Yaoundé.
 
Two weeks ago, Lembembe publicly warned against “anti-gay thugs.” 
 
"There is no doubt: anti-gay thugs are targeting those who support equal rights on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity," he said in a statement on July 1. "Unfortunately, a climate of hatred and bigotry in Cameroon, which extends to high levels in government, reassures homophobes that they can get away with these crimes."
 
"It is a big loss for our community, and we are a bit scared about what can happen to us," says Yves Yomb, director of the gay rights group Alternatives-Cameroon.
 
"He was one of the leaders of this community. So what can happen to the other leaders?"
 
With the Cameroonian Foundation for AIDS, Lembembe, who was also a journalist, helped document violence, arrests and threats against gay people.
 
Homosexuality is illegal in Cameroon and punishable by five years in prison.