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Anglophone crisis: Amnesty International reacts to Presidential decision to drop charges against leaders

Barrister Agbor Balla

Amnesty International has reacted to yesterday’s Presidential decision to drop all charges against civil society leaders and several others arrested in connection with the unrest in recent months in the Anglophone region in Cameroon.

It should be recalled that Cameroon’s President, Paul Biya had ordered an end to all judicial proceedings against Ayah Paul Abine, Felix Agbor Kongho, Fontem  Agborteka Neba and other detainees arrested in relation to on-going crisis in the North West and South West regions.

Reacting to the this decision in a statement, Samira Daoud, Amnesty International’s deputy regional director for West and Central Africa said:

“The decision to drop all charges and release of Anglophone civil society leaders, including Barrister Nkongho Felix Agbor-Balla and Dr. Fontem Aforteka’a Neba, and several others who spent over six months in jail is an enormous relief and welcome news for everyone who has been campaigning for this outcome. They should never have been arrested and prosecuted in the first place for simply helping to organize peaceful, non-violent protests.

“However, we should not forget that the Cameroonian authorities are detaining many other individuals on spurious charges related to national security.

“Fomusoh Ivo Feh and his two friends were jailed for 10 years for nothing more than sharing a private joke about Boko Haram by text message. Ahmed Abba, a journalist for Radio France Internationale’s Hausa service, is also languishing in jail for simply exercising his right to freedom of expression. They should be released immediately and unconditionally.

“Aboubakar Siddiki, leader of the political party Mouvement patriotique du salut camerounais, and Abdoulaye Harissou, a well-known notary, have also been held in detention for more than three years without trial on trumped-up charges.


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