Sunday, 19 January 2014

All Out: The Death of Roger in Cameroon


"Roger died because he sent a text saying 'I'm very much in love with you'.
The world needs to wake up to what's happening - please add your name to the virtual vigil, and share with others."  - Alice Nkom
Roger is dead and my government is to blame. He was like a son to me.
3 years ago, Roger sent a text message to another man that said, "I'm very much in love with you." In our country, Cameroon, it is illegal to be gay and sohe was arrested and jailed. This is how we met – I am a lawyer who fought to get Roger free.
I defend many people like Roger and he was especially brave. By speaking out he helped fight the anti-gay laws that let this happen. He inspired hundreds of thousands of people around the world.
When I received word that Roger had died I was overwhelmed with grief. But I'm determined to use my sadness and my anger to continue what Roger's courage started.
I've started a virtual vigil for Roger, together with All Out. Will you add your name to honour Roger's memory, then share his story with the people you love?
Add your name here and share Roger's story:
We're calling on leaders around the world to end all anti-gay laws so that no one has to die like Roger – because of who they love.

By signing and sharing this virtual vigil, we can tell Roger’s story to the many people who simply haven't heard these shocking things are happening, and don't know they can take action to help.
By making sure Roger's story is too big to be ignored or forgotten, we can help turn the tide against these laws, everywhere.

Roger was only 34, and before he was arrested he had been a student. He often talked about returning to school and getting a job. Now he'll never have that chance.
Roger died in a remote village, and the details of what happened are not yet clear. But what we know is this: Roger was violently abused in jail. He was left destitute because no one would employ him. He couldn't get the medical treatment he needed. If Roger hadn't been gay in a country where it's illegal – he could still be with us.
Please join me and share Roger's memory:
Thousands of us have signed petitions, shared news and felt the urgency to speak out during Roger's struggles in the last two years. I know he was moved and inspired by everyone who stood with him. Now we need to come together as a movement and keep his memory and dream alive.
Roger is not the only person we've lost in Cameroon during the last few months to fear and violence – and I just can't stand to lose any more. We have no choice but to win this battle for love, equality, and dignity in Cameroon, in Africa and around the world.

La lutte continue,
Alice Nkom and the rest of the All Out team

PS: My country Cameroon is one of 76 countries where it's a crime to be gay. In 10 countries, being gay can mean a life sentence in jail or the death penalty. I can't believe it's 2014 and yet this is happening here and now. Please help wake up the world – sign and share:

Gay 'Prisoner of Conscience' Dies in Cameroon - Associated Press, 12 January 2014
Gay Cameroonian, Jailed for a Text Message, Dies on Medical Leave - Time, 13 January 2014
Cameroon: Roger Jean-Claude Mbédé, died for being gay - France24, 14 January 2014 (in French)

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