March 27, 2017
Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and the Anti-Torture Initiative at the Washington College of Law’s Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law, call for the immediate release of human rights defender Nkongho Felix Agbor-Balla, who has been held in military detention since January 17, 2017. He was arrested alongside Dr. Fontem Aforteka’a Neba, a university lecturer, in Buea, the capital of the Southwest Region of Cameroon, for organizing peaceful protests calling for the rights of the Anglophone minority to be respected. Mr. Nkongho is charged with 8 counts, including treason, terrorism, incitement of civil unrest and breach of the constitution and set to be tried by a military tribunal. If convicted of these charges, he could face death penalty. On March 23, Mr. Nkongho’s trial was adjourned in a closed hearing to April 27, 2017, at which point his application for bail will be heard.
Mr. Nkongho is a barrister in Cameroon, where he leads the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium (CACSC), the FAKO Lawyer’s Association, and the Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa (CHRD). He previously worked for the United Nations as a Human Rights Officer. His arrest is linked to his high profile work on behalf of the English-Speaking Minority and took place shortly the Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralization, Rene Emmanuel Sadi, declared CACSC an illegal organization.