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Why Judge sentenced Bobrisky’s “team mate”, friend to jail in Cameroon

In a move that could send cold jitters down the spines of Bobrisky (real name Okuneye Idris Olanrewaju) and other members of the LGBT community in Nigeria, a court in Cameroon has sentenced two transgender women to five years jail terms.

The women, Shakiro (identified as Loïc Njeukam) and Patricia (identified as Roland Mouthe) were accused of contravening homosexuality laws in the Cameroon, a close neighbour to Nigeria.

Bobrisky, popular transgender woman in Nigeria

The court in the city of Douala, on Wednesday, also fined Shakira and Patricia 200,000 francs ($370; £261) each. If the two are unable to raise the money to pay the penalties, they will face another 12 months in prison on top of their five-year sentence, the BBC’s Killian Ngala reports from the capital, Yaoundé.

Cameroon and Nigeria are among 34 African countries that criminalises gay sex, while South Africa and Cape Verde adopt a more liberal approach.

Lawyers to the “transgenderees’ say they were found guilty of “attempting homosexuality” as well as outraging public decency and problems with their ID cards.

One of them, Shakiro, is trans celebrity and YouTuber who highlights the problems Cameroon’s banned LGBT community faces. She and her friend Patricia have been in detention since February after their arrest at a restaurant.

“It’s a hammer blow. It’s the maximum term outlined in the law. The message is clear: homosexuals don’t have a place in Cameroon,” one of their lawyers, Alice Nkom, who heads the Association for the Defence of Rights of Homosexuals, told the AFP news agency.

Their other lawyer, Richard Tamfu, says the pair will appeal the verdict as there is no proof of homosexuality, just suspicion.

In 2016 Cameroon strengthened its anti-homosexuality laws, changing the penal code to explicitly outlaw same-sex sexual relations, our reporter says.

There is animosity towards gay and transgender people in Cameroon and they can often be beaten up in public.

Shakiro, who has also been identified as Loïc Njeukam, is unusual for being vocal about such persecution.

She has thousands of followers on Facebook and YouTube where she promotes cosmetics and talks openly about her sexuality. BBC News

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