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You did it: 36 LGBTQ prisoners freed, 10 more to go!

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Good news for LGBTQ prisoners: You did it! PROJECT NOT ALONE HIT ITS GOAL IN A WEEK. (See more details in the update below.) What follows here is the original appeal:

Five gay men and five lesbians deserve to be set free in Cameroon and Nigeria, where they are locked up for whom they love. Your donation can help open the prison doors and let them out.

Those 10 imprisoned victims of anti-LGBTQ hostility and homophobia are the focus of this year’s Project Not Alone, which expands on the project’s previous work that won early release for 36 gay, lesbian and trans prisoners in Cameroon during the years 2019 through 2023.

Project Not Alone is a program of the St. Paul's Foundation for International Reconciliation, a tax-exempt California-based charity the receives donors gifts and transfer the funds to where they're needed in Africa.

This year’s financial goal is $8,122, which will pay the prisoners’ fines and provide lawyers (working pro-bono) for the three detainees who are being held pending a trial. It will also pay for hygiene supplies and supplementary food for prisoners during the months while they await release from their dirty prison cells, typically surviving on one filthy, poorly cooked meal per day.




As in the past, whether those goals are accomplished will depend on the generosity of readers and other donors. This year, however, we do have a jumpstart on fundraising. The Attitude Magazine Foundation, which donated money last year that helped us reach our 2023 goal of freeing 12 prisoners, has again pledged a substantial donation of £2,450 (about $3,000). In addition, we have a further $669 on hand — $77 from early donors and $592 left over from last year because several prisoners’ fines and legal expenses turned out to be less than anticipated.

The amount that we still need to feed and free this year’s 10 LGBTQ prisoners is $4,453.

The prisoners in Project Not Alone this year are in Ebolowa, Cameroon, and in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Their stories will be told on Erasing 76 Crimes in the days and weeks ahead. For their safety, a pseudonym will be used for every detainee.

Here is how we learned about the 10 prisoners:

LGBTI rights activist Jean Jacques Dissoke traveled to Ebolowa to deliver groceries (rice, oil, plantain, dried fish, peanuts food paste, soap, detergent, etc.) and to interview LGBTI detainees in the prison there. Nine of them met the requirements of Project Not Alone: They were incarcerated for nothing other than their sexual orientation.

Four gay men were imprisoned on homosexuality charges after police raided their card game on Jan. 15 and found lubricant in their possession.
Three lesbians were arrested Dec. 12 when police raided their home after one woman’s mother accused the other two of luring her daughter into lesbianism.
Two lesbians were arrested Feb. 13 on the basis of complaints from their neighbors.
Nigerian activist Mike Daemon informed us about this year’s 10th prisoner, a gay man who has been held without trial at Port Harcourt Maximum Security Prison since February.

The total budget for Project Not Alone 2024 is $11,891 to feed and free the 10 incarcerated men and women. That total includes:

  • $1,498 for food and hygiene items, plus transportation and prison access fees. (Deliveries are scheduled every two months if donors make that possible and if detainees have not yet been released.)
  • $5,134 to pay fines and court costs of convicted prisoners.
  • $1,179 for legal expenses (filing fees, copying charges, etc.) incurred by attorneys working pro bono.

This year’s initiative follows previous successful efforts on behalf of LGBTQ prisoners — initially only in Cameroon: in Yaoundé (food deliveries to three prisoners) in 2018, in the northern Garoua area and in Bertoua in the east (food for six prisoners and early release after their fines were paid in 2019 and 2020), then back in Yaoundé in 2021 and 2022 (food for 18 prisoners and early release after their fines were paid), and the 12 prisoners in 2023 (food and early release) in Bafoussam and in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

These are the names (pseudonyms) of the 36 innocent victims of African homophobia that we have released so far.




Please help us continue this work.
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Donations 

  • Anonymous
    • $500 
    • 20 d
  • Shreya Roshani Selvamohan
    • $1,245 
    • 21 d
  • Anonymous
    • $50 
    • 24 d
  • Shreya Roshani Selvamohan
    • $5 
    • 24 d
  • Shreya Roshani Selvamohan
    • $5 
    • 24 d
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Organizer

Colin Stewart
Organizer
Laguna Niguel, CA
Saint Paul's Foundation for International Reconciliation
 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.

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