Yaounde — THE conviction and ten-year sentence a Cameroonian military court has imposed on a journalist for alleged terrorism has been denounced as a travesty to justice.
Radio journalist, Ahmed Abba, has been convicted after torture and a trial deemed unfair by human rights groups. He was also fined a whopping € 84 000 (R1, 2 million) on charges of "non-denunciation of terrorism" and "laundering of the proceeds of terrorist acts." The journalist has been acquitted of the charge of "glorifying acts of terrorism."
"Ahmed Abba's conviction, after torture and an unfair trial, is clear evidence that Cameroon's military courts are not competent to try civilians and should not have jurisdiction in these cases," bemoaned Ilaria Allegrozzi, Amnesty International's Lake Chad researcher.
Abba was arrested on 30 July 2015 in the city of Maroua while investigating the Boko Haram conflict in the north of the country. He was held incommunicado for three months and tortured in a facility run by Cameroonian secret services.
Abba's lawyer has indicated that he intends to appeal the conviction and sentence.
Since 2014, Cameroon authorities have arrested more than 1 000 people for allegedly supporting Boko Haram. Many have reportedly been held without charge and tortured in detention facilities run by the military and or the secret services. They face trial before a military court and may be sentenced to death under the country's anti-terror law. - CAJ News