President Paul Biya of Cameroon has dropped criminal charges against political prisoners, including comrades of opposition figure, Maurice Kamto, who were arrested in January 2019, the government said in a statement sent to TODAY NEWS AFRICA USA in Washington DC.
In its statement, the government did not specify whether charges against Maurice Kamto himself had been dropped.
The statement by the Minister of State and Secretary General of the Presidency, Mr. Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh, said President Biya dropped the charges following the completion of a national dialogue on Friday.
The charges were dropped the same day the New York City Bar Association, one of the world’s oldest bar associations founded in 1870, called for the immediate and unconditional release of Cameroon opposition leader Professor Maurice Kamto.
The powerful association with 24,000 members, which exists “to equip and mobilize the legal profession to practice with excellence, promote reform of the law, and uphold the rule of law and access to justice in support of a fair society and the public interest” throughout the world urged Cameroonian authorities to honor their international law commitments by immediately and unconditionally releasing Professor Kamto.
Mr. Kamto was arrested and jailed in January 2019 along with 200 of his supporters for declaring victory in the 2018 presidential election and for organizing peaceful protests to contest the results.
“Professor Kamto is being held at Kondengui Central prison of Yaoundé infamously known for its horrendous conditions of detention. Reports of torture as well as cruel and inhuman conditions by law enforcement agents have surfaced on many occasions. Our concern is heightened by reported systematic violations of accused persons’ due process rights by law enforcement and judicial authorities in Cameroon, including the use of unlawful and prolonged detentions, coercion, and torture,” the bar association said.