March 22, 2017
On 16 March 2017, lawyer Robert Fon was arrested and brought to the Secretary of State for Defense (Secrétariat d’Etat à la Défense – SED) in Yaoundé, according to sources.
On 16 March 2016, Robert Fon was called upon by the Governor of the North-West Region, Adolphe Lele L’Afrique, to attend a meeting at his office. During the course of this meeting, Robert Fon was arrested and then taken to Yaoundé in police custody. No arrest warrant was presented, nor was a reason for the arrest given at the time. Since his arrest, reports state that he has been charged on two counts; acts of terrorism and insurrection. His trial will commence on 23 March 2017. Under Cameroon’s 2014 anti-terrorism law, Robert Fon will be tried in a military court. He is currently being held at the complex of the Secretary of State for Defence in Yaoundé, and has been granted visiting rights with his family.
Robert Fon’s arrest is part of a larger crackdown on human rights defenders in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon in the North-west and South-west of the country. In the fall of 2016, lawyers and teachers, among others, started to protest against the institutionalized discrepancy between conditions in the Anglophone regions and in the Francophone regions of Cameroon. Human rights defenders who have been leading the call to respect the human rights of citizens in the Anglophone regions, have been the first to be targeted by the authorities in the crackdown.