Five Senators from the United States of America have called on Cameroon’s Head of State Paul Biya to release Amadou Vamoulke, Ex Director General of the State owned media CRTV, Tsi Conrad and Thomas Awah Junior, all three journalists detained in recent years on “politically motivated charges”.
The call is contained in a letter addressed to President Paul Biya dated Friday May 8, 2020.
According to the five Senators, the treatment of these journalists and others reflects a troubling pattern of repression regarding free speech and freedom of the press.
“Given their dubious detention and danger of infection by Coronavirus to which prison populations are especially vulnerable, we urge that these three journalists be released without delay.” The letter partly reads.
Amadou Vamoulke was arrested and detained in 2016 over embezzlement charges for his management of the State owned media, the Cameroon Radio Television.
The Senators frown at the fact that since his detention, Vamoulke has yet to be formally charged and this, despite twenty hearings at the Special Criminal Court.
Conrad Tsi on his part is still awaiting a hearing before a military appeal tribunal for his 2015 sentencing to fifteen years in prison on charges of hostility against the State, contempt for civil authority and spreading fake news.
Thomas Junior Away was arrested in 2017 in the line of duty and sentenced in 2018 to eleven years in prison for alleged hostility to the fatherland, spreading false news and contempt for civil authority.
Added to his detention, the latter is said to have suffered from poor physical and mental health.