Three men have been sentenced to five years in prison and a fine on charges of homosexuality in Cameroon.

The men were found guilty of having engaged in gay sex, which is illegal in the African state.

In August, Human Rights Watch reported that the three men were arrested on the night of 25 July.

Jonas, 19, and Franky, 20, were in the company of an un-named older man and were returning by car from a bar when they were stopped by police officers in Yaoundé.

The police at first assumed that Jonas and Franky were women because of their feminine appearance. However, upon checking their identification documents, in which Jonas and Franky were identified as male, the police arrested all three.

“Police in Cameroon are arresting people for supposedly looking homosexual, which is absurd and also violates Cameroon’s constitution as well as international law,” said Alice Nkom, Director of Association pour la Défense de l’Homosexualité (ADEFHO) in August.

“They are relying on a discriminatory statute to punish people simply for the way they look.”

The three men were held illegally without being charged for seven day before charges were finally laid against them. Jonas and Franky claim that they were tortured and harassed by police.

The older third man was reportedly not beaten or harassed and, for reasons that are unclear, was released.

According to AFP, Jonas and Franky were present for the sentencing in the Ekounou court, while the third man was sentenced in absentia.

The men’s lawyer Michel Togue told AFP that the judge had made homophobic innuendoes throughout the hearing. He added that he had appealed the ruling.

Human Rights Watch claims that in the first half of the year, at least ten individuals in Yaoundé and Douala were arrested under the country’s anti-sodomy law.

In April, Jean-Claude Roger Mbede, was convicted and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for being gay.

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