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Cameroon: HRW urges authorities to release jailed Ambazonia leader’s lawyer, Bar. Amungwa

International right group, Human Right Watch, HRW has asked for the immediate release of Bar. Nicodemus Amungwa whom they say…

International right group, Human Right Watch, HRW has asked for the immediate release of Bar. Nicodemus Amungwa whom they say was unjustly arrested and jailed for possessing photographs that recorded alleged military abuses in the crisis-hit Anglophone regions of Cameroon.

 

In a statement issued Monday June 7, the right group said it has been a week since the prominent lawyer and member of the Cameroon Bar Association was arrested and thrown behind bars on “bogus” charges of terrorism and should be released immediately.

Recounting his ordeal last May 31 when he was arrested at the Groupement Territorial de la Gendarmerie in Yaoundé while he was assisting a client, HRW citing his lawyers said the gendarme in charge of investigating the client’s case seized Bar Amungwa’s phone without a warrant, claiming he had taken photographs at the facility.

While searching for the alleged photographs, the gendarme found other photographs that recorded alleged military abuses in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions and arrested Amungwa, his lawyers said.

He was transferred to the Service Central des Recherches Judiciaires (SCRJ), at the State Defense Secretariat (Secrétariat d’État à la défense, SED) and a request for bail rejected by the Yaounde military court prosecutor.

“Amungwa’s arrest is a direct attack on the legal profession,” Ayukotang Ndep Nkongho, one of Bar Amungwa’s lawyers, told HRW.

“His arbitrary detention reveals a system geared towards stifling and undermining the role and activities of lawyers involved in key human rights cases.” He added.

“Possessing photographs that provide evidence of abuses in the English-speaking regions is not a crime, far less an act to incite terrorism. Cameroonian authorities should immediately release Amungwa and ensure both his due process rights and his role and privileges as a lawyer are respected.” the right group said.

Bar Nicodemus Amungwa is one of the lawyers representing Sisiku Julius Ayuk Tabe, the jailed leader of the Ambazonia Interim Government, and several other people arrested in connection with the Anglophone crisis.

The over four years long crisis has claimed thousands of lives and displaced over 730,000 civilians, according to HRW.

 

 

 

 

 

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