Cameroon has a very unique judicial system, to say the least. The West African country outlawed homosexual conduct between two men. Jean-Claude Roger Mbede, a citizen of Cameroon, allegedly broke this law and, as a result, he received a three-year prison sentence for expressing his love via text message.
In 2011, Mbede sent "I am very much in love with you" to another man via text. Authorities arrested Mbede under the suspicion of homosexuality.
After serving 18 months, the 32-year-old man was set to be freed thanks to the work of his lawyer, who had appealed for a provisional release. However, the appeal was dismissed and Mbede was sent back to jail.
Mbede spoke with the Associated Press after his appeal was denied:
"I am not sure I can put up with the antigay attacks and harassment I underwent at the hands of fellow inmates and prison authorities on account of my perceived and unproven sexual orientation. The justice system in this country is just so unfair."
A number of nations have similar antigay laws like Cameroon, including Liberia, Uganda, and Nigeria.
According to Neela Ghoshal, a researcher in the LGBT Rights Program at Human Rights Watch:
"Usually people are convicted on the basis of allegations or denunciations from people who have claimed to law enforcement officials that they are gay."
Organizations like Amnesty International are fighting for the release of Mdebe. Hopefully, in time, the Cameroon judicial system will be amended to stop convicting individuals for harmless acts.