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Rights group condemns Ahmed Abba’s 10-year sentence

Reporters Without Borders, RSF, has condemned Cameroon’s 10 years sentence of Ahmed Abba, Radio France International correspondent in prison for…

Reporters Without Borders, RSF, has condemned Cameroon’s 10 years sentence of Ahmed Abba, Radio France International correspondent in prison for what it said was his “failure to denounce acts of terrorism.”

The rights group described the move and terrorism-related charges as “outrageous.”

Clea Kahn-Sriber from RSF reportedly told the BBC that Abba, who works for the Hausa Service of Radio France Internationale, had been given an “utterly disproportionate sentence, although the prosecution produced no hard evidence”.

“This is a clearly political decision designed to scare all journalists, especially those who might try to cover the security situation in northern Cameroon,” Kahn-Sriber was quoted as saying.

Abba, who has been in jail since July 2015 over his reporting, could have faced the death penalty on the charges. The RFI reporter was jailed and fined by Cameroon’s military court despite the fact that he had denied all the charges.

Government sources opine Abba, who says he was tortured for three months by intelligence agents before being transferred to jail, collaborated with Boko Haram and failed to pass on information about planned attacks.

Amnesty International has equally condemned the sentence calling it “a travesty of justice.

“Ahmed Abba’s conviction, after torture and an unfair trial, is clear evidence that Cameroon’s military courts are not competent to try civilians and should not have,” the rights group said.

Abba, who had been reporting out of the troubled north of the country, a region repeatedly targeted by Boko Haram, was arrested in July 2015 in Cameroon’s far northern town of Maroua.

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