March 27, 2017 – Today, the Anti-Torture Initiative and the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights called for the immediate release of lawyer and human rights defender Nkongho Felix Agbor-Balla and of university lecturer Dr. Fontem Aforteka’a Neba from military detention in #Cameroon.
Mr. Nkongho and Dr. Fontem were arrested for organizing peaceful protests calling for respect for the rights of the Anglophone minority. Mr. Nkongho is charged with 8 counts, including treason, terrorism, incitement of civil unrest, and breach of the constitution and set to be tried by a military tribunal. If convicted of these charges he could face the death penalty. Mr. Nkongho’s trial adjourned on March 23 until April 27, at which point his application for bail will be heard.
“The arbitrary detention of Mr. Nkongho and Dr. Fontem on account of their peaceful protests and advocacy for the human rights of English-speaking Cameroonians is in blatant violation of international human rights law,” said the Anti-Torture Initiative’s Academic Director Prof. Juan E. Méndez, the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture. He went on to express “grave concern over allegations of excessive use of force and the use of torture against protesters and detainees, as well as over reported cases of arbitrary executions. I call on the Government to immediately release Mr. Nkongho and Dr. Fontem, to conduct an inquiry into the allegations of grave human rights abuses committed since October 2016, and to provide victims with adequate redress and rehabilitation,” Prof. Mendez concluded.
The press release can be found here.