Campaigns

December 18, 2017

RFI Cameroon correspondent Ahmed Abba must be freed

As a Cameroonian military court prepares to rule on RFI reporter Ahmed Abba's appeal against a ten-year jail sentence for covering Boko Haram operations, a support committee of more than 35 NGOs, friends and colleagues, coordinated by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), calls for his release.


We, international media freedom and human rights NGOs, media outlets and well-known figures, call for the immediate and unconditional release of Radio France Internationale's Hausa-language correspondent, Ahmed Abba, who has been imprisoned in Cameroon since July 30, 2015. A military court in Yaoundé is expected to issue a decision on his appeal on December 21st, the latest development in a judicial ordeal that has dragged on for more than two years.


On April 24th, Abba was sentenced to ten years in prison and a fine of 57 million CFA francs (85,000 euros) on charges of failing to report terrorist acts to the authorities and laundering the proceeds of a terrorist act. His only crime was to have covered the terrorist group Boko Haram's activities in Cameroon's Far North.


The victim of a loose interpretation of Cameroon's 2014 terrorism law, as the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) noted in a special report published in September, that Abba is accused of complicity with Boko Haram, although no evidence was brought to support this claim during his trial and he has consistently denied it.


"I am a patriot and I love my country; I have never associated with terrorists in order to harm my country and I will never do that," said Abba at his most recent hearing on November 16.


Abba's trial has been marred with inconsistencies, has been postponed 18 times, and has served to highlight the ongoing efforts of Cameroonian authorities to use anti-terror legislation as a tool to muzzle critical voices. We join voices in condemning the ongoing miscarriage of justice against Abba.


We call on the Cameroonian authorities to release Ahmed Abba from government custody immediately and to drop all charges brought against him.


Journalists do the important work of safeguarding democracy. Like all journalists, Abba should be free to carry out his work without fear of reprisal.


Signatories:


Africtivistes

Amnesty International (AI)

Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT)

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)

International Federation of Journalists

Journaliste en Danger (JED)

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)

Syndicat national des journalistes camerounais (SNJC)

Didier Awadi, Senegalese musician

Kidi Bebey, Franco-Cameroonian writer

Hervé Bourges, former director of RFI and former president of France Télévisions

Denise Epote, TV5 Régional director for Africa

Tiken Jah Fakoly, Ivorian musician

Meddy Jumanne, aka « Doctor Meddy », Tanzanian caricaturist

Angélique Kidjo, Beninese singer, Grammy Awards winner and Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF

Ray Lema, Congolese musician

Mamane, Nigerien filmmaker and humorist

Rémy Ngono, Cameroonian journalist

Catherine Simon, French journalist and writer

Solo Soro, Ivorian journalist and producer of l’Afrique en Solo on France Inter

Salif Traoré, aka Asalfo, founder of the Ivorian group Magic System

Valsero, Cameroonian rapper

Abdourahman Waberi, Franco-Djiboutian writer

AFP Society of journalists

BFM Society of journalists

Les Echos Society of journalists

Le Figaro Society of journalists

France2 Society of journalists

France 24 Society of journalists

France3 Society of journalists

Libération Society of journalists

Le Monde Society of journalists

L’Obs Society of journalists

Le Point Society of journalists

Premières lignes Society of journalists

RFI Society of journalists

RTL Society of journalists

TV5 Monde Society of journalists


Press contact:

Julie Bance / jbance@rsf.org / +33 1 4483 8457