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France

Media organisations demand release of RFI journalist in Cameroon

media RFI hausa correspondent in Cameroon Ahmed Abba

French media staff unions and press freedom organizations have signed a petition demanding the immediate release of RFI's Hausa-language correspondent Ahmed Abba.

Abba, who has been in prison in Cameroon since July 2015 without being convicted, is being detained on charges of complicity with terrorist acts, and failure to inform on such acts

The trial was due to continue yesterday, but the president of the tribunal of Yaoundé postponed it for the 11th time. It is now due to resume on February 2.

The adjournment this time follows the submission of a report on by expert witnesses appointed by the court to examine the content of Abba’s computer and other electronic devices that were seized following his arrest.

Abba’s legal representatives, however, have asked that the report be set aside as neither Abba, nor his lawyers were consulted in the framing of the report and argue that its findings are one sided and not, therefore, submissible as evidence

In response to the adjournment journalists in Cameroon have drawn-up a petition demanding his immediate release.

French media staff unions and professional organizations are supporting the call and many have signed the petition already. Among the French signatories are:

SDJ AFP, SRM le Monde, SDJ Figaro, SDJ Libération, SDR L’Humanité, SDJ Radio France, SDJ RTL, SDJ France2, the news room of the d’Envoyé Spécial program, SDJ BFM TV, SDJ Itélé-Canal+, SDJ L’Obs, SDR Le Point, SDJ les Echos, SDJ Telerama, Coopérative Alternatives Economiques, SDJ Premières Lignes, SCAM and Prix Albert Londres.

Other French organizations have also said they will be signing the petition too.

Earlier this month, French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault added his voice to those demanding the release of Abba.

"We are defending this journalist who was doing his job and is detained in conditions that we cannot accept," Ayrault said in an interview on RFI.

If found guilty, Abba, who was arrested because of his coverage of the Boko Haram movement based in neighbouring Nigeria, could face the death penalty due to a controversial anti-terror law passed in 2014.

France Médias Monde has consistently affirmed Abba’s innocence and demanded his release.
 

 
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