Robin Hammond

Yaounde, Cameroon

31 year old Wandji, a gay man living in Cameroon's capital Yaounde. On 6 October 2013 he woke up in a police cell. He was covered in cuts and bruises, and had pain all over his body. He had no idea how he got there. The police told him he was caught having sex with another man by a crowd of people, beaten, and brought to the police station unconscious. Wandji has no recollection of any sexual encounter that night. The last thing he remembers is being given a drink of whisky at a street kiosk the night before. He was taken to the hospital in handcuffs with the man he was accused of having sex with. They were not told why they were going there. They entered an examination room with three policemen, and three hospital staff. He was told to lie on a bed with stirrups of the type used by gynaecologists. He was told to remove his trousers, put his legs up on the stirrups. A female doctor then proceeded to examine Wandji's anus. As she did so she started insulting him 'You are a pig, you are a dog!' The others joined in 'you do not deserve to live' one said, others laughed. 'I've never felt such shame as on that day' Wanji says, 'I felt like the worst of human kind.' After both were examined, they were taken to court cells: 'everyone was there to see the faggots' says Wanji. The police told them to remove their tops and they were beaten. In court they were convicted of 'Practicing Homosexuality' and sentenced to six months in prison. 'hell is even better than that prison' says Wanji. 'We were constantly humiliated by the inmates and the guards.' They were often beaten. Six months and three weeks later he was released. 'I have so much regret, anger, frustration – in one night I lost my job, my talent, my future. Everything. Now I am afraid of everything. I have no hope for my future.'While many countries around the world are legally recognising same-sex relationships, individuals in nearly 80 countries face criminal sanctions for private consensual relations

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Robin Hammond
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