Cameroon: Two trans people arrested
In February, Patricia and Shakiro were arrested in Cameroon simply for being trans. They were tortured by police and sent to an overcrowded male prison. 'Working for our Wellbeing', a group from Cameroon, launched a petition on All Out's platform asking the authorities to release them.
Unfortunately, despite the international pressure, on May 13 the women were sentenced to five years in prison - the maximum sentence for violating the country's anti-gay law. While they were in prison, All Out members sent them thousands of postcards with messages of solidarity.
Finally, on July 13, they were set free. But Patricia and Shakiro remain at risk because the charges haven't been dropped yet.
Ghana: 21 activists and community members arrested
At least 21 people were arrested by local police on May 20 after police invaded a hotel where a workshop for LGBT+ persons was ongoing. A court ordered the 21 accused, who were charged with "unlawful assembly", to be kept in police custody.
Activists from the group "LGBT+ Rights Ghana" launched a petition asking the the authorities of Ghana to release the 21, and to drop any charges made against them. Over 10,000 people signed the petition within just the first few days.
The activists also shared their pressing need for legal support, food and medical supplies for the 21 people arrested with All Out. This spurred us on to create the Emergency Action Fund, to support countries throughout Africa experiencing attacks against their LGBT+ communities. The support of All Out members who donated made a huge difference, and in August a court finally dismissed the charges against all 21 people.
Uganda: Freedom for the 44
On May 31, Ugandan police arrested 44 people at an LGBT+ shelter. Happy Family Youth Uganda, the group that runs the shelter, launched a petition calling on the authorities to drop any charges made against the 44. After three months, the court dismissed the charges.
While the dismissal of charges is a victory, it goes to show that the 44 should have never been arrested in the first place. The arrest and detention had devastating effects on their physical and emotional wellbeing, with some of them losing their jobs and homes as a result. LGBT+ people in Uganda and everywhere have the right to association, and arbitrary arrests like in this case contravene that right.