Two transgender women on Tuesday were sentenced to five years in jail for "attempted homosexuality." They were also convicted of public indecency and failing to carry identification cards.

This comes after they were arrested for the clothes they wore in a restaurant, according to their lawyers. Shakiro, who also is identified as Loic Njeukam, and Patricia, also identified as Roland Mouthe, were held on February 8. They were also fined 200,000 CFA francs ($370), their lawyers told Reuters.

"This is a political decision," said one of the lawyers, Alice Nkom, who added that the two will appeal against the verdict. "It's Yaounde [the central government] that said these people must not bring homosexuality to Cameroon."

Human rights activists considered this move as part of the growing criminalization of sexual minorities and transgender people in Cameroon, which is an African country where same-sex relations are illegal.

Last month, Human Rights Watch said that Shakiro and Patricia's arrests appeared to be part of "an overall uptick in police action" against sexual minorities. The group shared that since May 2020, 53 people have been held in raids on HIV and AIDS organizations.

In another incident, a transgender woman is suing the D.C. jail for keeping her in the men’s detention unit. Since April 26, Sunday Hinton has been in custody. Her repeated requests to be transferred to the women’s unit have been denied, said an attorney with the ACLU of D.C.

According to court filings, government attorneys said that housing at the D.C. jail depends on anatomy, reported NBC Washington.

“Transgender individuals are at very high risk for sexual violence, assault, harassment when incarcerated, generally," said ACLU DC attorney Megan Yan. "Ms. Hinton is very, very upset about her situation. She wants to be in a woman’s facility, because she’s a woman, and she feels that she's deeply being hurt by the fact that this policy is discriminating her because she’s transgender.”

Though jail officials are willing to place Hinton in protective custody, her lawyers feel that would be like keeping her in solitary confinement. As per protocols, Hinton was kept in single-occupancy quarantine for 14 days, said Keena Blackmon, a spokeswoman for the D.C. Department of Corrections. After the end of quarantine period, Hinton will face the Transgender Housing Committee, which will determine her housing “based on safety needs, housing availability and gender identity,” she added.

“D.C. DOC is sensitive to Ms. Hinton’s concerns and will continue to ensure that its residents’ needs are met,” Blackmon said.

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