“His family said they were going to remove the homosexuality which is in him,” Lamba said. “I went to see him in his village. He could not stand up, he couldn’t speak.”
Neela Ghoshal, senior LGBT rights researcher for Human Rights Watch, called on Cameroonian police to investigate Mbede’s death in light of reports that he may have been barred from receiving medical treatment.
“Roger was a courageous man who became an accidental activist after he was arrested simply for expressing his love for another man,” Ghoshal said.
Alexandre Marcel, president of the French committee for the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, condemned the family’s actions in a statement, saying they were a reminder that sexual minorities must fight prejudice at both the family and state levels in anti-gay countries around the world.
Also on Friday, six men in neighboring Gabon were released after being accused of taking part in a same-sex marriage ceremony last month. Officials who held them for one night decided not to bring charges against them after determining that no marriage had occurred, said prosecutor Sidonie Flore Ouwe.
Gabon is one of 11 countries in sub-Saharan Africa that have not criminalized homosexual acts, according to Amnesty International. However, Ouwe said that a gay marriage ceremony would constitute obscenity and an affront to public order punishable by law.
(AP Photo: In this July 2012 photo, Roger Jean-Claude Mbede poses for a picture in the home of a friend where he had sought refuge, in Yaounde, Cameroon.)