Yaounde – A Cameroon military tribunal on Monday sentenced a Radio France International correspondent to 10 years in prison for what it said was his “failure to denounce acts of terrorism.”
Amnesty International quickly condemned Ahmed Abba’s sentence — he was further convicted of “laundering the proceeds of terrorist acts,” and was fined a sum equivalent to around 85,000 euros.
Abba’s lawyer, Clément Nakong, told CPJ that Abba, who has been jailed since July 2015 in relation to his reporting on the extremist group Boko Haram, could face the death penalty.
The journalist faces an additional five years’ jail if he fails to pay. His defence team said they would appeal.
Abba had denied all the charges.
The prosecution had demanded a life sentence for the reporter, who works for RFI’s Hausa language service, and there were initial fears he might even face a death sentence.
Authorities believe Abba, who says he was tortured for three months by intelligence agents before being transferred to a jail, collaborated with Boko Haram and failed to pass on information about planned attacks.
Amnesty International said the sentence was “a travesty of justice.
“Ahmed Abba’s conviction, after torture and an unfair trial, is clear evidence that Cameroon’s military courts are not competent to try civilians and should not have,” the rights group said.
Abba, who had been reporting out of the troubled north of the country, a region repeatedly targeted by Boko Haram, was arrested in July 2015 in the far northern town of Maroua.
Source: African Spotlight