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Cameroon – Human Rights: Amnesty International is concerned about the anti-terrorism law

In a statement at the press conference to launch the Annual Report on the use of the death penalty in 2016, Samira Daoud, Deputy Regional Director of the Amnesty International Office for West Africa and Central Africa, denounces this law, which she deems liberticidal. Her statement is contained in La Nouvelle Expression published this 12th of April 2017.

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to draw attention to a country, Cameroon, where the authorities continue to use the death penalty in the trial of persons suspected of belonging to the armed group Boko Haram. In 2016, at least 160 death sentences were handed down by military courts in the city of Maroua, in the far north of the country.

The anti-terrorist law passed in December 2014 to face the growing threat of Boko Haram gives military courts jurisdiction over all cases of terrorism. And new powers that allow the authorities to detain people without charge. Worse, the military court can renew pre-trial detention for an indefinite period.

To date, all suspects tried before military courts who have been sentenced to death have been sentenced to death on the basis of very thin evidence even if no executions have been recorded.

On 20 April, a journalist Ahmed Abba, who is the correspondent of Radio France Internationale (RFI) in the Hausa language in detention since July 2015, arrested while reporting on Boko Haram in the north of the country, could be sentenced to death. He is accused of “complicity in acts of terrorism” and “non-denunciation of acts of terrorism” and the prosecutor has requested the death penalty against him.

I take this opportunity to remind you that Amnesty calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Ahmed Abba.

In conclusion, I would like to say that the death penalty is a violation of the right to life, it is a cruel and inhuman punishment that has no place in the modern era. The majority of countries in the world, a total of 104, accepted this fact by completely abolishing the death penalty for all crimes. It is time for the countries of sub-Saharan Africa, which still have to abolish the death penalty, to do so.

Thank you for your attention “.

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