March 27, 2017
See: Yaounde-Cameroon: Teachers Protest over unpaid Salaries
March 27, 2017
March 27, 2017
CONCERN GROWS OVER MILITARY TRIAL
FOR DETAINED CAMEROON HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER
The arrest of human rights lawyer Nkongho Felix Agbor-Balla in the Republic of Cameroon has sparked growing concern in legal circles as reports indicate that he may face trial in a closed military court.
The Bar Council is the latest legal body to call on the country’s President to ensure that the lawyer has a fair trial, following news that his trial date has been pushed back for the third time.
Arrested on 17 January without warrant after organising peaceful protests in West Cameroon, Nkongho Felix Agbor-Balla has been denied communication to the outside world. His trial date has now been set for 7 April.
According to the latest reports, he faces charges including terrorism, rebellion, contempt of public authorities and attempting to incite civil war, some of which carry the death penalty on conviction.
In a letter to the President of the Republic of Cameroon, His Excellency Paul Biya, the Chairman of the Bar Andrew Langdon QC has warned that the use of military courts to try civilians in the name of counter-terrorism poses “a serious threat to the proper administration of justice.”
The Chairman highlighted the Government’s obligations under United Nations principles that military courts should not be used to try civilians, and that lawyers have the right to take part in public discussions and meetings without suffering professional restrictions.
In an open letter, the Chairman has written: “We urge the Government of the Republic of Cameroon to comply with its obligations under international law and to ensure that any trial is conducted fairly and in accordance with due legal process.”
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.
March 24, 2017
He arrived SED by 9am and only came out by 2pm.It filtered that5 he was questioned by interrogators his numerous media outings especially an interview granted to Le Jour Newspaper last December 2016 in which it is alleged that he incited secession, rebellion and terrorism.
The summon of Akere MUNA which attracted even international attention was seen by many as a means by the Government to lay hands on one of the Defense Counsel of arrested Anglophone leaders but his coming out has also been seen by observers as a major victory on the part of the legal luminary. Many say it is like the biblical Daniel in the Lion’s Den.
According to Barrister Ngnie Kamga Jackson, President of the Cameroon Bar who accompanied Barrister Akere MUNA, the response he gave were taken down by interrogators and will hand them over to public Commissioners who will decide whether or not to open trial against him. He said, “Enquiries are being opened against Batonnier Muna in the context you know, what is happening in the North West and South West region. You know there are many people charged in Yaoundé for terrorism, secession among others so he has given explanations on two articles he had published on Le Jour Newspaper; one in December and the other in January. He gave his explanations and we were told to leave the office.”
Members of the Cameroon Bar and friends of Barrister Akere MUNA showed up in their numbers to cheer him up. Legal minds came from South West, North West, Littoral, Centre, West and others areas. They also gathered at his Bastos residence after the ‘victory’.
Statement from Barrister Akere Muna on the events of this week:
On March 20, 2017, I received a summons requiring that I show up to the National Defense Secretariat (SED) on Wednesday, March 23. Due to a prior commitment, I informed the SED of my intention to fulfill my professional commitments in South Africa on that day, offering instead to have the hearing on the morning of Friday, March 24.
I was accompanied to SED on Friday morning by the President of the Cameroon Bar Association, as well as four former presidents of the Bar and many members of the Bar Council. On arrival, I found over a hundred lawyers waiting outside. They waited patiently outside while I was being heard by a Lieutenant of the gendarmerie. These are the charges that were levied against me:
– Hostility toward the homeland
– Advocating terrorism
– Compromising the security of the State
These charges, it would seem, stemmed from the content of articles that I had published in the “Le Jour” daily newspaper. The first article appeared on December 19, 2016, entitled “The Inevitable Nature of Change” in which I examine the futility of resisting change. The second appeared on January 10, 2017, entitled “Cameroon is One and Indivisible: Which Cameroon?” in which I discuss the questions of unity that plague our country.
The investigation, I was informed, was opened at the request of the Commissioner of Government at the Military Tribunal. I responded to all the questions asked truthfully, reaffirming my convictions and standing behind the words I wrote in those articles. After a few hours I was allowed to leave the gendarmerie. The report of the investigation will be transmitted to the commissioner of government.
I am grateful for the outpour of kindness and support that I received from well-wishers both online and off. To those who, fearing for my safety, encouraged me to stay away from Cameroon, I say thank you for your concern, but my conscience is my judge and I believe am not guilty of wrongdoing. I love my country and I will always speak up in the interest of a better tomorrow.
Akere T. Muna
Communiqué du Bâtonnier Akere Muna après les événements de cette semaine:
Le 20 Mars 2017, j’ai reçu une convocation me sommant de me présenter au Secrétariat d’État à la Défense en charge de la Gendarmerie (SED) le Mercredi 22 Mars 2017. Du fait d’engagements pris antérieurement à cette convocation, j’ai été contraint d’informer le SED de mon intention de respecter mes engagements professionnels en Afrique du Sud prévus le même jour et m’empêchant d’honorer ladite convocation à cette date. Je me suis toutefois proposé de me présenter dans ses services une fois de retour au Cameroun, le Vendredi 24 Mars 2017.
Vendredi 24 mars, je me suis rendu au SED accompagné du Bâtonnier de l’Ordre des Avocats du Cameroun, de quatre anciens Bâtonniers du Cameroun, ainsi que de nombreux avocats au Barreau du Cameroun. À mon arrivée, j’ai trouvé plus d’une centaine d’avocats qui attendaient déjà à l’extérieur du SED et qui ont continué d’attendre pendant tout le temps que je me faisais interroger par un lieutenant de la Gendarmerie Nationale. Les accusations portées contre moi sont les suivantes :
– Hostilité contre la patrie
– Apologie du terrorisme
– Atteinte à la sécurité de l’État
Elles découleraient de deux articles que j’ai écrits et qui ont été publié dans le Quotidien Le Jour. Le premier, publié le 19 Décembre 2016 et intitulé « La Nature Inévitable du Changement », portait sur l’inutilité d’une résistance au changement. Quant au second article, il a été publié le 10 Janvier 2017 sous le titre « Le Cameroun est Un et Indivisible : Quel Cameroun ? ». Il portait notamment sur les questions relatives à l’unité de notre pays.
L’enquête, à proprement parler, a été initiée par le Commissaire du Gouvernement du Tribunal Militaire. J’ai répondu en toute honnêteté à toutes les questions qui m’ont été posées, toujours en réaffirmant tout ce dont je demeure convaincu et défendant mes propos relayés dans les articles de presse précédemment cités. Quelques heures plus tard, j’ai été autorisé à quitter les locaux de la Gendarmerie. Le rapport d’enquête sera transmis au Commissaire du Gouvernement.
Permettez-moi d’exprimer ma gratitude pour les marques d’attention et de soutien dont j’ai pu faire l’objet sur la toile et au-delà. À ceux qui, inquiets pour ma sécurité, m’ont suggéré de rester hors du Cameroun, je vous dis merci de vous être souciés de moi. Cependant, ma conscience demeure mon juge et je suis convaincu de n’avoir commis aucun délit. J’aime mon pays et je continuerai toujours de m’exprimer dans l’intérêt d’un avenir meilleur.
Akere T. Muna
(Akere Muna Facebook)
le 24 mars, 2017
Avec le Bâtonnier Akere Muna ! Libre après l’audition au SED!!
(Georgie Massi Ngakele Facebook)
March 23, 2017
The state prosecutor in Cameroon asked a military tribunal in Yaoundé on Thursday to add a number of extra people to a terrorism case involving three Anglophone activists, a lawyer has told RFI. Human rights lawyer Felix Agbor Balla, university lecturer Fontem Neba and radio host Mancho Bibixy have pleaded not guilty to terrorism. They were involved in organising protests in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions over perceived marginalisation by the Francophone government.
The prosecutor requested that the court add “about 25 people” to the case against the three activists, according to lawyer Evaristus Morfaw. The so-called Joinder of Parties process involves adding extra defendants to a case after a complaint has been filed.
“The defence counsel objected to it – the parties were not the same, the dates of commission of the offences were not the same – some of these people were arrested when the others were already charged and arraigned before the court and they took their plea,” said Morfaw. “It would be wrong to join them with people who have been brought to court afresh.”
March 22, 2017
Alafnet.com is getting confirmed reports that a group of Common lawyers enroute to the nations capital yaounde to defend their colleague Bar Kongho Felix Agbor and anglophone leaders at the military court have been severely beaten by forces on the regime.
The Anglophone lawyer’s from Buea on their way to Yaounde to defend our leaders were followed by LRC forces right from Buea .They cheated death after been attacked and severely beaten on the highway between Douala and Yaounde .All of them escaped each one not knowing the way about one another.
According to the our source himself a lawyer who was in a second car, two private cars had left Buea and the one which was ahead was attacked, the second only discover their colleagues car by the road and stop .The attackers had left .They were stoped by security forces and beaten ,says a lawyer desperately lying at the scene.As we write there is desperate attempt to make sure all car 1 occupants are found and save.
The lawyers have still insisted in completing their journey to defend the consortium leaders due in court march 23rd.It is our understanding that Militarized reinforcement has been called at the capital of the SouthWest region against any reaction for the population .
Inner City Press asked UN about
#Cameroon arresting former UN Nkongho Felix Agbor-Balla, France letting itself off the hook
(Inner City Press https://twitter.com/innercitypress/status/844656623142518785)