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Kathleen Ndongmo @KathleenNdongmo
, 30 tweets, 21 min read Read on Twitter
#Cameroon's 'anti-terror' law is being used by authorities to arrest and threaten journalists who are tried by military courts. This is not the first time. Journalists are not terrorists! #FreeMimiMefo…
As part of civil society, we've been saying that since the early 2000s, the govt of #Cameroon has put its repression and oppression in policy, creating a legal framework to increasingly punish dissent, stifle free speech & instill fear in anyone who opposes it. #FreeMimiMefo
In Dec 2014, #Cameroon’s legislature passed a controversial anti-terrorism legislation that includes the death penalty for citizens who, either as individuals or in a group, carry out, abet, or sponsor terrorism. The provisions drew global condemnation. #FreeMimiMefo
The law was a welcome initiative in the fight against Boko Haram. However, its potential infringement on important human rights & freedoms protected under the #Cameroon Constitution & international human rights law...
... was immediately signaled per the barrage of criticisms that followed its promulgation. Many echoed the fact that the vague definition of terrorism could threaten freedom of expression, freedom of opinion & association, freedom to take part in public protest. #FreeMimiMefo
The @UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism re-affirmed the model definition of terrorism implies an action intended to cause death or serious bodily injury ... #FreeMimiMefo
...and should not include property crimes. #FreeMimiMefo
He also reiterated that the offence of incitement of terrorism must be limited to incitement to conduct that is truly terrorist in nature as per the model definition, and must only restrict freedom of expression no more than is necessary in a democratic society. #FreeMimiMefo
The important observation from the reading of Article 2 of the law is that the terms are vaguely worded and include actions that don’t meet international standards for acts of terrorism such as property crimes. This might be intentional. #FreeMimiMefo
The anti-terrorism law seemingly fails to draw a fine line between those acts & intent constituting criminal offences punishable under the penal code and those that amount to terrorism punishable under the 2014 law. Section 9 is an example. #FreeMimiMefo
This law is not even-handed & does not respect the proportionality of sanctions. This is the case with journalists, for whom “defending terrorism” in spoken or written word is punishable by 15 to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of 25 to 50 million CFA francs. #FreeMimiMefo
Increasingly - & as feared - the anti-terror law has been used to silence media workers who report on Boko Haram, or on civil unrest in #Cameroon's English-speaking regions. The crackdown is leaving journalists too scared to cover politics. #FreeMimiMefo
In 2014, three journalists were arrested, detained and tried by a military court under the anti terrorism law because they protected their sources whilst covering news about Boko Haram insurgency up North.… #FreeMimiMefo
In 2017, RFI journalist Ahmed Abba - arrest in July 2015 - was sentenced to 10 years in jail, by a military court for 'non denunciation of terrorism'. He was incarcerated for a total of 872 days and freed in Dec 2017. #FreeMimiMefo…
On 1 Dec 2016, a directive was sent from the Ministry of Communications to privately owned broadcasters in #Cameroon warning the stations to stop showing political debates. This came during the protests of lawyers & teachers against marginalization. #FreeMimiMefo
In 2014, Félix Cyriaque Ebole Bola of @MutationsOnline & Rodrigue Tongue of @Le_Messager, were subjected to military court proceeding. After contacting police to check sources, they were accused of failing to report matters affecting state security to authorities. #FreeMimiMefo
Same 2014, two other journalists, Amungwa Tanyi Nicodemus and Zacharie Ndiomo, were detained in connection with their work. Nicodemus was held for nearly nine months, Ndiomo for two months. #FreeMimiMefo
Atia Tilarious Azohnwi @TilariousAtia, political desk editor of The Sun Newspaper was arrested Feb 9, 2017, and jailed for 204 days.… #FreeMimiMefo
Hans Achomba, arrested on January 23, 2017 in Bamenda was jailed for for 221 days.

Tim Finnian, arrested on January 26, 2017 in Bamenda was jailed for 218 days.

Jean-Claude @agbortem, arrested on January 25, 2017 in Douala was ailed for 37 days.

The list goes on and on..... and these are the ones related only to the arbitrariness of the anti-terrorism law. #FreeMimiMefo
On March 1, 2017, the @PressFreedom's @angelaquintal sent this letter to Cameroon's communication minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary requesting information on jailed #Cameroonian journalists. #FreeMimiMefo
The anti-terrorism law has since sparked constant arrests of journalists, protests & dissidents as well as a wave of criticism across the nation and abroad – from opposition political leaders to civil society, church ministers and trade unions. #FreeMimiMefo
@kahwalla the only female leader of a political party in #Cameroon [the Cameroon People’s Party @CPP_Cameroon], has been an ardent critic of the law, leading on-ground push back to secure the release of many who have been arrested. #FreeMimiMefo
Local and international media and rights groups have protested #Cameroon’s use of the anti-terror law to target critical journalists. From the independent Cameroon Association of English Speaking Journalists to CPJ to FAJ. #FreeMimiMefo
Bodies such as the European Union, @_AfricanUnion, and @UN, as well as countries partnering with #Cameroon in the fight against violent extremism, have been slow to publicly condemn its violent & arbitrary actions in suppressing freedoms. #FreeMimiMefo
Cameroon is a partner in a Multinational Joint Task Force to fight Boko Haram, which is supported by the U.K., France, and other EU and AU member states. Yet none have publicly condemned the consistent abuse of power by the government. #FreeMimiMefo
The choice of the military tribunal as the only competent court is equally a call for concern. The designation of military tribunals to try civilians contravenes the non-derogable right to fair trial under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. #FreeMimiMefo
Military tribunals do not qualify as independent, impartial courts, as being part of the armed forces they fall under the executive branch of govt. They are designated as special courts charged with trial of military offences provided by code of military justice. #FreeMimiMefo
If you are looking for a full text of the law:
Here (in French):…

via @dibussi (in English):…

& if you are looking for #Cameroon's ranking on @RSF_inter's World #PressFreedom Index, unlook. It's appalling. #FreeMimiMefo
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