The life imprisonment slammed on the ten detained Ambazonia separatist leaders by the Yaounde Military Tribunal will instead moved the country further away from dialogue that could help solve the Anglophone crisis, the Cameroon’s Peoples Party has said.
The Yaounde Military Tribunal slammed a life jail term to the ten detained separatist early on Tuesday after a night-long hearing sparking condemnations from several quarters not least from the CPP that believes a solution to Cameroon’s crises will not be achieved with all political prisoners still detained.
Below is a statement from the Secretary General of te CPP Franck Essi;
Brief reminder on the facts:
Early in the morning this Tuesday, August 20, 2019, around 5:30 am, Mr. Ayuk Tabe and nine co-accused were convicted of all the charges against them, namely: “apology for acts of terrorism, secession, complicity of acts terrorism, financing of acts of terrorism, revolution, insurrection, hostility against the fatherland, diffusion of fake news, undermining the internal and external security of the State, lack of a National Identity Card “.
As a result of this verdict, they were sentenced to life imprisonment and a fine of 250 billion CFA francs.
It should be recalled that they were kidnapped in Nigeria, held in custody and extradited to Cameroon in January 2018. Once on Cameroon soil, they were held incommunicado for 10 months without the possibility of contact with their relatives and their lawyers.
As of November 2018, they were presented before the Military Tribunal, in violation of international laws and conventions that do not allow the trial of civilians before military courts. Their rights and freedoms as detainees have since been, in the face of the entire world, constantly flouted to the point where, tired of several serious violations of the judicial process, their lawyers boycotted several hearings in protest.
It is in this context that they were sentenced this Tuesday, August 20, 2019 at 5:30 am, after a troubled session that started at 1:00pm on Monday, August 19, 2019. This sentence that came after 15 hours of hearings which their lawyers, once again, as a sign of protest, were forced to boycott as a reaction to the various violations of the law and the obvious intention of the sitting judge to pronounce such a sentence.
WE ARE NOT GOING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
The CPP strongly believes that with political will and appropriate leadership, Cameroonians have the capacity to cope with any crisis and to address in depth the causes of serious problems that may arise in the life of a country or a nation.
With this deep and shared conviction …
The CPP is astonished that on this very sensitive matter, it is possible to pronounce such a sentence in such highly disputable circumstances.
The CPP condemns the multiple violations of laws and procedures of the arrest, detention and judgment of these secessionists. To reaffirm the strength of the Republic, the unity of the Nation and the rule of law, it is necessary to scrupulously respect the national laws and procedures as well as the international conventions that we have freely adopted, ratified and promulgated.
The CPP regrets that, as more and more voices, both at national and international level, are calling for an appeasement of the situation and the opening of an inclusive national dialogue, the Government multiplies decisions and actions that move us away from such a dialogue.
The CPP is concerned with the possible consequences of this hardening of positions and this lack of action leading us to a peaceful resolution of the national crisis that affects the North West and South West regions in priority.
The CPP calls those who would be tempted to carry out acts of violence, in the face of this umpteenth proof of the deafness and the blindness of the Government of Paul Biya, to strongly abstain from it. While condemning the absence of a process of resolution of the Anglophone crisis by this Government, the CPP reaffirms that non-violent actions remain the best way to claim and obtain respect for our rights and interests as Cameroonians.
As always, the CPP reiterates its opposition to secession and to the use of arms to promote political opinion.
The CPP is every day more firmly convinced that the Government, under the leadership of Paul Biya, will not be able to address the multiple crises that seriously threaten our country.
The CPP firmly believes that no lasting solution to these multiple crises will be achieved without the release of all political prisoners and an inclusive process of dialogue, reconciliation and re-founding of the Nation.
To end these crises, we need more than ever a political transition through which the national dialogue to reconcile, build a new consensus and rebuild the country on a new basis will be held.
It is to this salutary work that all moderates and patriots who ardently desire an end to the grave crises that afflict our country must devote themselves.
Another Cameroon is possible. Only our commitment will enable it to happen.
On behalf of the Cameroon People’s Party