Bailey's Irish Cream Lands Man In Jail For Homosexuality

| by Lisa Fogarty

A man in Cameroon made the mistake of enjoying a sweet alcoholic beverage that wasn’t heterosexual enough to keep him out of jail.

A judge convicted a man this week for drinking Bailey’s Irish Cream because he believed the cocktail proved he was homosexual, which has been a crime in the African nation since 1972, reports the Mirror. He faces both a fine and a possible five-year prison sentence.

The conviction has inspired a Cameroonian human rights attorney named Michel Togue to argue that far too many people have been accused of having same-sex relations based on evidence that does not actually prove homosexuality. He says angry neighbors, lovers and family members often turn in a person, who is often sent to jail despite a lack of substantial evidence.

Examples of this include two women who spent nine months in jail after neighbors told police they were lesbians. Three men who denied accusations that they were having sex in a car were still sent to jail because a judge determined they dressed in a feminine style.

“To catch people having sex, to catch them in the act, you have to break the law,” Togue said. “You have to violate their privacy, which is an offense. But the police will not focus on the offense of breaking the privacy of someone, but they will focus on the fact that they saw two people of the same gender having sex.”

Togue says his country’s attitude and legal actions against alleged homosexuals is affecting its healthcare and that fewer people are being tested for HIV, reports Belfast Telegraph.

“They can’t go to hospitals for the treatment or even for a test because they’re afraid,” he said.

Sources: Mirror, Belfast Telegraph

Photo Credit: Ruth Hartnup/Flickr,