The Committee to Protect Journalists, CPJ has written to the Head of State Paul Biya urging him to release detained Anglophone journalist Thomas Awah Junior.
A letter addressed to the Head of State by Joel Simon, Executive Director of the CPJ, the organisation urges the President to order for the freedom of the journalist due to his failing health.
“The Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent press freedom advocacy organization, writes to request that you release imprisoned journalist Thomas Awah Junior, the Northwest correspondent for privately owned Afrik 2 Radio in Yaoundé and publisher of the monthly Aghem Messenger magazine, on humanitarian grounds,” the committee said in a letter.
A military court on May 25, 2018, sentenced Awah to 11 years in prison, after he was convicted on several charges including terrorism and the spreading of false news, according to media reports and a copy of the judgment seen by CPJ.
The journalist was arrested in Bamenda on January 2, 2017, while interviewing protesters for Afrik 2 Radio, according to CPJ research.
While in prison, Awah’s poor physical health has deteriorated and he was admitted in a hospital in Yaounde in September but was later discharged on October 16 and returned to prison.
“We therefore urge you to use the powers bestowed on you under the constitution of Cameroon to ensure that Awah is unconditionally released on humanitarian grounds. Such a gesture would be viewed both as a compassionate act and as a demonstration of your government’s commitment to complying with international human rights treaties to which Cameroon is a state party,” the CPJ said.