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Cameroon: Amnesty Intl urges Gov’t to end crackdown on dissenting voices

Police try to stop CRM protesters in Bafoussam during September 22 protest (c) copyright

The Non-Governmental Organization Amnesty International which promotes respect of human rights have called on the Cameroon Government to end mass arbitrary arrests and detentions of members of the opposition parties.

In a report published Wednesday December 9, the organization says at least 500 people were arrested on September 22 during the nationwide protest organized by the Cameroon Renaissance Movement party to demand the departure of President Paul Biya.

The NGO adds that among the 500 arrested, 160 remain in detention, meanwhile 13 have been sentenced to prison by civilian courts, and 14 appeared before a military court as at November 25.

According to the organization’s West and Central Africa Researcher, Fabien Offner, this attitude demonstrates no willingness on the part of the Government to soften crackdown measures on opposition members.

“The harsh repression of opposition and dissenting voices shows no sign of relenting in recent months. People simply exercising their right to freedom of peaceful assembly and demonstration have paid a high price with prison terms based on trumped-up charges,” Fabien Offner said.

The organization has thus urged the Government to immediately release those still under police custody.

“The authorities must immediately put an end to the mass arbitrary arrests and detentions and immediately release prisoners of conscience.”

Among those arrested and placed in pre-trial detention following the protest are Olivier Bibou Nissack, Maurice Kamto’s spokesman, and Alain Fogue Tedom, the party’s national treasurer.

The national coordinator of MRC women’s group, Awasum Mispa Fri was arrested on November 21, charged by a military court with “complicity in revolution and rebellion” after demanding the end to the party chairman’s house arrest and put in pre-trial detention.

As for the national Chairman, Prof Maurice Kamto, he was placed under house arrest until Tuesday December 8 when it was lifted following a decision by the Government to ease measures taken to foil the “insurgency”




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