As many as fifteen men and two women are in custody in the west African nation of Cameroon after their arrest at a gay bar in the capital Yaounde, according to news reports.

The men were detained on charges of sodomy in May, several days after the two women’s arrest on the same charge, according to local news reports cited by rights organisation International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC).

The 17 have been charged with sodomy and all or part of the group remain in detention at Kondengui Central Prison, the rights group said in a statement on its website.

Gay sex and congregating in places of ill repute is illegal in Cameroon. reported.

The detainees face up to five years’ imprisonment if convicted, or double that if one of the people involved is under 21.

IGLHRC said it had petitioned Cameroon’s government to release the detainees.

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