Cameroon lawyer Michel Togué has received multiple death threats for defending clients charged with homosexuality, Human Rights Watch reports.
“We know that your wife is now shopping in the mall,” read one anonymous threat. “We know your children are now standing in front of their school. They will die if you don’t stop.”
Consensual same-sex conduct is criminalized under Cameroon law with a maximum prison sentence of five years.
The president of Cameroon’s Lawyer’s Association reportedly told Togué, “Stop defending the LGBT community and you won’t have problems anymore.” Likewise, in response to his request for protection, Cameroonian police reportedly laughed and said, “Don’t defend those faggots.”
Togué ultimately sought asylum for his wife and children in the U.S. during the Obama administration. Togué, however, has chosen to remain in Cameroon and continue the good fight.
“I cannot abandon the lesbian and gay community,” he says. “They are entitled to be represented in court because human rights are universal and apply to everyone.”
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In an open letter to Cameroon president Paul Biya, Human Rights Watch previously reported that Togué and colleague Alice Nkom began receiving death threats in October 2012 in the form of emails and text messages.
Togué and Nkom received the prestigious Dutch Geuzenpenning Award last month for their courageous work defending LGBT clients in a hostile environment.