On January 10, 2014, we learned that Roger Jean-Claude Mbédé had died in Cameroon. Roger was sentenced to 3 years in prison because he sent another man an SMS that said “I’m very much in love w/u” – in a country where it’s illegal to be gay. ( yes, some countries are still living in another century!)
Roger died after being denied hernia treatment. In prison he faced physical abuse and medical emergencies. Out of jail he was attacked and turned away from employment, school, shelter and even critical healthcare.
Despite attacks and great hardship, Roger spoke out against Cameroon’s anti-gay law. He said he did it so that other lesbian, gay, bi and trans people in Cameroon would not have to face what he did.
At least 28 people had been charged under the law in the past three years.
Human Rights Watch described Mbede as ‘a courageous man who became an accidental activist’ after his arrest.
Roger lived with love but died without seeing justice for himself.