Repost from The Daily Beast
An outspoken voice for gay rights was tortured and killed in Cameroon. Neela Ghoshal on her colleague Eric Lembembe’s legacy—and how the movement lives on.
Eric Ohena Lembembe didn’t turn up to a meeting he had organized. Members of Camfaids—a group that defends the rights of LGBT people and those infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS—went to his house Monday evening after failing to reach him by phone all weekend. They found the door padlocked from the outside; through a window, they could see Lembembe’s body on the bed. When the police broke the door down, they found that Lembembe’s body bore signs of torture. His neck and his feet were broken, a friend told me. His face, hands, and feet had been burned with a clothes iron.
I had last seen Lembembe in March, on a sticky, humid evening in Yaoundé. We had released a joint report on human-rights abuses against people accused of homosexual conduct in Cameroon two days earlier. The head of the gendarmerie—Cameroon’s military police—had finally agreed to meet with us. We wanted to raise the many cases we had documented of arbitrary arrests, ill treatment, and torture of people alleged to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Continue Reading