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Gay rights activist killed in Cameroon

DAKAR, Senegal -- A prominent gay rights activist in Cameroon was tortured and killed just weeks after issuing a public warning about the threat posed by "anti-gay thugs," Human Rights Watch said.

Friends discovered the body of Eric Ohena Lembembe at his home in the capital, Yaoundé, on Monday evening after he had been unreachable for two days, the rights group said in a statement yesterday.

A friend said Lembembe's neck and feet looked broken and that he had been burned with an iron.

Lembembe was among the most prominent activists in one of Africa's most hostile countries for sexual minorities. First as a journalist and later as executive director of CAMFAIDS, a Yaoundé-based human rights organization, he documented violence, blackmail and arrests targeting members of Cameroon's gay community.

Homosexuality is punishable by prison terms of up to five years in Cameroon. The country prosecutes more people for gay sex than any other in sub-Saharan Africa, according to Human Rights Watch. -- AP

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