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Over 20 Anglophones still being held in Kondengui after release of 55 detainees -Issa Tchiroma says, reveals Biya’s order was not an infraction on the independence of the Judiciary

5 September 2017 No Comment

Issa Tchiroma: over 20 still in detention awaiting trial

By Theodore M. Ndze
Not fewer than 20 Anglophne detainees are still being held at the Kondengui Maximum Prison, Yaounde, the Minister of Communication and Government Spokesman, Issa Tchiroma Bakary has said, adding that the decision by the Head of State Paul Biya to set 55 Anglophone detainees free in connection to the Anglophone crisis is not an infraction on the independence of the Judiciary by the Executive. He said the Head of State’s order was rather an application of the Legislative instruments governing the organization of justice in Cameroon.
Minister Issa Tchiroma made the declaration in Yaounde last Thursday during a press conference to threw more light on the President’s order liberating some Anglophones.
“The Head of State H.E. Paul Biya, has ordered the discontinuance of proceedings against some persons arrested in connection to the violence and other abuses committed in recent months in the North West and South West Regions. I have therefore invited you to this Press Conference to inform you of the putting into practice of the decision of the Head of State in accordance with the Provisions of Section 13 Subsection 4 of Law No. 2017/012 of July 12, 2017 establishing the Code of Military Justice.”
The Minister said the detainees were prosecuted by the Yaoundé Military Court, a court belonging to the judicial branch of the State of Cameroon and recognized as competent for specific categories of offenses. Pursuant to Section 13 Subsection 4 of the Code of Military Justice which the President of the Republic may, at any time before the judgment is delivered, prescribe the discontinuance of any criminal prosecution before the Military Court in accordance with the requirements which he deems necessary to assert.
He said the key message about the decision taken by President Paul Biya is that it stems from his resolve to give precedence to the values of peace, tolerance, dialogue and humanism, which are the trademarks of our nation.
“In fact, faced with the concerns raised in these Regions, some which have unfortunately led to unpopular acts against the honour and due consideration of our institutions and their symbols, as well as looting, vandalism, destruction and sometimes even physical assaults against certain persons, including children, faced with all these violence, as I just said, the President of the Republic gave precedence to dialogue, serenity and active solidarity of all the stakeholders in the development of our country.”
Tchiroma noted that it was this vein that the Head of State ordered the discontinuance of proceedings initiated by the Yaoundé Military Court against 54 defendants, who have today regained their freedom. This number plus Hon. Justice Ayah Paul Abine brings the total number of those released to 55.
“As I speak, the court proceeding in line with the application of the presidential order has just ended. The persons who have benefited from this presidential order are presently at the Defense Secretariat in charge of National Gendarmerie, awaiting to be escorted back to their respective places of residence.
“To this end, the Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Defense has taken all necessary measures to ensure that their journey back home is secured.
“The concerned will be handed over to the competent Governors who would each take necessary measures for their return to their families.
He disclosed that over 20 cases, whose proceedings are pending, are still under custody with a military court session coming up on September 28, 2017.
                                                                  Names of Anglophone detainees freed from detention
Nkongho Félix Agbor Balla, Fontem Aforteka’a Neba, Tegum Elvis, Ambe Charbet Echu, Yusinyu Gerald Tawa, Mungou Azeh Priesley, Mofor Echu Che Jean Pierre, Ndassi Julius, Munji Roland Fon, Elvis Ndzanyuy, Nkwenkam Momenkam Tite, Atia Tilarious Azohnwi, Fuo Ewi Evaristus, Ban Japheth Chambang, Tem Wung Jonathan, Chia Ateh Martin, Neba Francis, Raymond Yoh, Ndengue Godden Zama, Che Julius Atanga, Ntimah Andrew Njika, Tim Finnian Njua, Acheghe Stanley Kum, Meh Ranson Akap, Essame Collins Enjanweg, Abongue Eric Assanga, Perek Penvadga Gana, Tambu Cédric, Nkembu Tchegum Anicet, Uyase Léonard Sahfan, Awuh Terence Ambe, Levala Brian, Suchu Dieudonné Nformi, Wandong Enoh Moses, Moforechu Che Jean Pierre, Hilary Yang Donke, Pang James Puh, Manyaka Gaston Tonde, Ngueme Eugène, Veranso Stephen Vejaini, Tatah Elvis ; Ngwa Francis Che, Vincent Sama Niba, Neba Olivier Ntungfor, Awemo Joseph, Ayah Paul Abine, Langwa Justin Tardzenny, Vernyuy Clearance, Teme Clifford Nwunyi, Mindako Junior Abel, Chiato Yam Richard, Emmanuel Akumbu, Mofor Ndong, Ban Joseph Chambang and Achomba Hans Achomba
Amongst those released were four Journalists namely Mofor Ndong, Publisher of Voice of the Voiceless newspaper based in Bamenda, Achomba Han Achomba, a freelance documentary filmmaker, Atia Tilarious, Political Desk Editor of The Sun newspaper based in Limbe and Tim Finnian, Editor/Publisher of Life Time magazine and newspaper. All three were on trial at the military tribunal under Cameroon’s anti-terror law.
In a press statement following their release, the Committee to Protect Journalists, CPJ stated: “We welcome the release of Cameroonian Journalists Atia Tilarious Azohnwi, Tim Finnian, and Hans Achomba, but they should never have been detained in the first place,” said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal. “We urge President Paul Biya to free other Journalists jailed under the anti-terror law, including RFI Correspondent Ahmed Abba, and to end authorities’ abuse of the legislation to crackdown on critical voices and those reporting on unrest.”

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