Cameroon/UK: Law Society’s intervention letter on pre-trial detention in Cameroon

April 25, 2017

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The Law Society is a professional body representing more than 166,000 lawyers in England and Wales. Its aims include upholding the independence of the legal profession, the rule of law and human rights around the world. The Law Society has Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations since 2014.

We understand that on 30 March 2017, the Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seals announced that certain measures would be taken, such as the inclusion of a Common Law Section as part of the Supreme Court and National School of Administration and Magistracy (ENAM), and the recruitment of more Anglophone teachers at ENAM, as well as court officers. We also understand that the internet shutdown has been lifted in the Anglophone regions. Although the Law Society welcomes such measures to the extent that these address concerns that gave rise to the demonstrations of lawyers and other civil society actors in Cameroon recently, we remain concerned about the fact that Nkongho Felix Agbor, Fontem Aforteka’A Neba, Paul Ayah Abine, and others are being tried by a military tribunal pursuant to Law No. 2014/028 of 28 December 2014 on the suppression of acts of terrorism.

We refer to our letter of 13 February 2017, regarding the arrest and detention of Nkongho Felix Agbor, Fontem Aforteka’A Neba, Paul Ayah Abine, and others. In that letter, we referred to international and regional standards on the lack of jurisdiction of military tribunals over civilians, the rights to freedom of expression, the right to liberty and security of the person, and other rights. We understand that Nkongho Felix Agbor and Fontem Aforteka’A Neba were arrested and detained on 17 January 2017 and were detained formally by order of 20 January 2017 of the “Commissaire du Gouvernement” of the Military Tribunal of Yaoundé.

Biya P HE, 25 04 17 PDF

Biya P HE, 25 04 17 French, 25 04 17 PDF (FRANCAIS)

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