Hate Crime Against Gay Man From Cameroon Case Dismissed

SEATTLE (AP) — A hate crime case in Seattle involving a gay man from Cameroon has been dismissed and the people charged say they were blindsided by the arrests.

Police had said a man was attacked outside his apartment in November 2018 and that his mother was assaulted in Cameroon after the man’s house guest released intimate photos of him and his husband to members of the Cameroon community, The Seattle Times reported.

Rodrigue Fodjo-Kamdem and Christian Djoko were arrested but denied that they’d assaulted him or participated in a smear campaign against the man who, like them, had come to the U.S. from Cameroon. Homosexuality is illegal in the Central African country.

The criminal case against the men and a third co-defendant, Marie Fanyo-Patchou, 25, was transferred to U.S. District Court in Seattle in 2019, where they were charged with conspiracy to engage in cyberstalking and interstate cyberstalking. Those charges were dismissed last week.

“Following a thorough review of the evidence, including information that has been obtained since the filing of the Indictment, prosecutors decided not to move forward with the case,” Emily Langlie, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle, said in an email.

Fodjo-Kamdem, who was friends with the alleged victim, and Djoko, who says he became a target after rebuffing the man’s romantic overtures, believe they were implicated so the man, who entered the U.S. in 2014 on a student visa, could claim asylum due to hostility against gay people in Cameroon.