YAOUNDE, Cameroon – Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called for the immediate release of a Cameroonian lawyer who was thrown behind bars on bogus charges of inciting terrorism.
In a statement on Monday, the rights group said it has been a week since prominent lawyer Amungwa Tanyi Nicodemus was detained. “He should be released immediately.”
Gendarmes arrested Amungwa on May 31 in Cameroon’s capital Yaounde, while he was assisting a client. They seized his phone without a warrant, claiming Amungwa had taken photographs at the facility, HRW said, citing his lawyers.
While searching for the said photographs, the gendarmes found other photographs that recorded alleged military abuses in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions and arrested Amungwa, his lawyers said.
Amungwa, a member of the Cameroon bar association, is one of the lawyers representing Sisiku Julius Ayuk Tabe, the jailed leader of a Cameroonian separatist group — the Ambazonia Interim Government — and several other people arrested in connection with the Anglophone crisis.
“Amungwa’s arrest is a direct attack on the legal profession,” Ayukotang Ndep Nkongho, one of 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.”
Tabe is a Cameroonian separatist leader, and the first president of the unrecognized Federal Republic of Ambazonia — the Anglophone region of Cameroon which has been marred by violence since 2016.
Tabe and other separatist leaders were arrested in Nigeria and extradited to Cameroon in January 2018
Violence in the Anglophone regions over the last three years has claimed an estimated 3,000 lives and caused the displacement of over 730,000 civilians, according to HRW.
Source: Anadolu Agency