CPJ urges Cameroonian President Paul Biya to free radio journalist Ahmed Abba

This posting is an important update by the Committee to protect journalists and the freedom of the press worldwide:

January thirty-one, 2017

President John Biya
President of the Republic of Cameroon
P. Um. Box 100
Yaoundé

Facsimile: +237-222-203306
Email: cabcivil@prc. cm

Your Excellency,

We at the Committee to safeguard Journalists, an independent press freedom advocacy organization, write to urge you to definitely instruct military prosecutors to drop costs against Ahmed Abba–a correspondent pertaining to Radio France Internationale’s Hausa-language provider who has been jailed for eighteen months–so that he can be released without having further delay. The journalist’s demo before a military tribunal will be scheduled to resume on Feb 2 .

Abba reported on the predicament of those forced from their homes simply by conflict and on attacks the militant group Boko Haram, which has renamed itself the Islamic State within West Africa, perpetrated in the northern of Cameroon. Security forces imprisoned Abba on July 30, 2015, as he left a press meeting in Maroua, RFI told CPJ. Authorities denied him contact with the or access to his lawyer till October 19 of that year, plus did not take a statement from your pet until November 13, more than 3 months after his arrest, which violates Cameroonian law, according to his attorney, Charles Tchoungang .

A military court upon February 29, 2016, charged Abba with “complicity” with and “non-denunciation of acts of terrorism” regarding failing to tell authorities his confirming had brought him in contact with the girls, according to mass media reports . The journalist pleaded “not guilty” at an August 3 or more, 2016, hearing. Abba’s case continues to be postponed 11 times while the army tribunal awaits technical evidence to back up the grave charges against your pet.

In December 2016, France Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault openly called for the journalist’s release. Eu diplomats have attended his army tribunal, according to press reports.

Abba should not have invested a single day behind bars only for doing his job: reporting upon issues and events of severe domestic and international concern. Media sometimes must speak with dangerous individuals in the course of their reporting, and are not able to work effectively if they are expected as well as suspected to be government informants.

The use of military courts to test civilians runs afoul of individual rights law, including the African Rental on Human and Peoples’ Legal rights, which Cameroon ratified in 1989. In its Concepts and Guidelines on the Right to a good Trial , the African Commission payment on Human and People’s Legal rights clearly said, “Military courts must not in any circumstances whatsoever have legislation over civilians. ”

Abba’s continued detention, his army trial, and the charges against your pet are an injustice that you have the power to finish. We therefore ask that you urgently instruct military prosecutors to drop many charges against Abba and to discharge him immediately.

Truly,

Angela Quintal
Africa Program Coordinator

CC:
African Union Payment Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat
African Commission on Human Legal rights Special Rapporteur on Freedom associated with Expression Faith Pansy Tlakula
Permanent Mission of Cameroon towards the United Nations Michel Tommo Monthe

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