translation agency

Agence France-Presse
Cameroon failed to probe gay activist's murder: lawyers
<p>Staff Writer</p>
July 18, 2013

YAOUNDE, Région du Centre, July 18, 2013 (AFP) - Lawyers acting for a gay rights campaigner murdered in Cameroon accused police Thursday of failing to carry out basic procedures that would have helped to catch his killers.

Eric Lembembe's body was discovered in the capital of Yaounde on Monday. His neck had been broken and he had suffered burns inflicted by an iron, Human Rights Watch said, a charity with whom he had a close relationship.

Lembembe's lawyer Alice Nkom said police had done nothing to help build his case.

"No one collected the slightest piece of evidence. No one took a single photo. No one did anything that would have allowed for a serious and credible investigation," she told reporters.

Lembembe was executive director of the CAMFAIDS civil society group and an outspoken advocate of gay rights in a country where homosexuality is punishable by up to five years in prison.

The president of the Swiss branch of Lawyers Without Borders, Saskia Ditisheim, also acting on behalf of Lembembe in Yaounde, said she believed "total indifference" to his death was to blame.

"It is not a question of resources. It is relatively simple to secure the area, take photos and gather evidence.

"I am also surprised an autopsy was not done... it is total indifference."

Members of the dead activist's family were also denied access to his body on Thursday.

Non-governmental organisations have regularly denounced the arrest and imprisonment of homosexuals in Cameroon, as well as the threats received by those who try to defend their rights.

The latest incident comes just weeks after an arson attack on a charity providing help to homosexuals with HIV in the country.