2 Cameroonians face homosexuality charges
16 March 2012, 17:45
Ambam - Two women on trial in Cameroon for homosexuality pleaded not guilty on Thursday as their lawyers sought an annulment of the trial over alleged rights abuses.
"Not guilty", said Esther, 29, and Martine, 26, whose full names are being withheld to protect them in a country where homosexuality is illegal.
The two are charged with "having intercourse with a person of the same sex".
Their lawyer, gay activist Alice Nkom, asked the court in Ambam in south Cameroon to annul the case as investigators had failed to inform her clients of their right to legal counsel or to remain silent.
"Since this case began, we have been the laughing stock of our town. We are being treated as witches," Esther told AFP on leaving the courtroom, which was packed with curious onlookers and supporters
"I do not see what they did wrong to deserve this," onlooker Fabrice Ngningha told AFP.
But another passerby, who refused to give her name, said: "It is not normal that two women sleep together. They must be condemned, as an example to their children."
Martine has two children and Esther one.