Amnesty International Publishes Report Of Severe Beatings On 59 Opposition Supporters In Cameroon, Demands Prompt Investigation

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By Arrey Bate

Amnesty International just published a report asking Cameroon authorities to promptly and independently investigate the severe beatings and ill-treatment that 59 opposition supporters -including six women- were allegedly subjected to during their questioning at the State Secretariat for Defense (SED).

The organisation noted that “before releasing them, security forces beat them with sticks and forced them into humiliating positions”.

They also called for the immediate release of opposition leader Maurice Kamto and more than 100 other supporters arbitrarily detained for peaceful participation in protests.

As published on Amnesty International Website:

“Like many other unofficial detention centres across Cameroon, the SED has a reputation for torturing detainees. These repressive and brutal tactics to silence dissent must end,” said Marie-Evelyne Petrus Barry, Amnesty International West and Central Africa Director.

“Judicial authorities must investigate the allegations that these 59 opposition members have been subjected to torture and other ill-treatment and take concrete measures to bring perpetrators to justice.”

The 59 opposition members were arrested on 1 June during a planned peaceful protest in the capital Yaoundé.

Brought to the SED for questioning about the protest, they were tortured and arbitrarily detained by security forces, who also warned them against participating in another protest scheduled a week later.

Amnesty International interviewed several opposition members now released who were victims of torture or other ill-treatment. They detailed techniques including beatings and hard physical exercises, including against women.

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A woman who was released on 3 June told the organization:

“When we arrived, gendarmes asked us to do physical exercises, knees and hips bent, arms out for balance. They passed by and kicked my head and buttocks. Then ordered us to roll around the ground while continuing to kick with their shoes. We were moved up and down the stairs in the duck position. I was then asked to do push-ups with the men until I could not continue. So, I was again beaten with a belt.”

Another ex-detainee described the beating with wooden sticks, cables and batons:

“We were taken to SED where gendarmes were waiting for us. Each of them was armed with a wooden stick, a cable and a baton with which we were beaten in the ears and our bodies. They then forced us to walk like a duck in the mud. 53 men and six women were together, some crying, traumatized and shocked. After our release, I spent more than a week at the hospital as I had fractures, bruises and trauma.”

While some of his supporters were released, Maurice Kamto, arrested on 28 January 2019, is still behind bars six months later.

Maurice Kamto

An 11 July 2019 military court decision said it has jurisdiction to judge them and confirmed charges of rebellion, hostility against the homeland, incitement to insurrection, offence against the president of the republic, and destruction of public buildings and goods against Maurice Kamto and 107 other people.

The same decision dropped all charges against 61 other supporters and ordered their release. Under international law, military courts should not have jurisdiction over civilians.

In January, nearly 300 MRC supporters were arbitrarily arrested along with Kamto. Mass arrests also took place on 1 and 8 June.

In Douala, where more than 200 protesters were arbitrarily arrested, 30 of them are currently in administrative custody waiting to appear before an ordinary court.

“By confirming these opposition members are to be tried before a military court, the Cameroonian authorities are failing to respect international law. Kamto and his supporters risk an unfair trial and the deeply disturbing possibility of facing the death penalty,” said Marie-Evelyne Petrus Barry.

“Maurice Kamto and all his supporters should have never been arrested in the first place. Authorities should immediately release them and drop all charges against them.”

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I am Arrey Bate Arrey I am a blogger, digital journalist, Online Marketing consultant & digital entrepreneur who has been featured on the BBC World Service, British Council and other international media. 6 years as a communicator, I am one of Cameroon's best digital communicators and listed among British Council's Top 100 Young Journalists Worldwide in 2019. My blog www.arreyb.com was nominated at Infinity Blog Awards USA among top 200 blogs from 3,000 submissions worldwide. With a deep knowledge of social media, I founded Arreyb Media, an online media in advertisement, digital branding and blogging with more that 100,000 monthly views on our website www.arreyb.com . I have built an insight driven online advertising and digital advertising skill serving 500+ brands and running even online presidential election campaigns. I have a deep insight-driven & customer-centered knowledge consulting and developing successful B2B and B2C go-to advertising/marketing ideas and was the first blogger to organize a national tour in Cameroon. The ARREYB Media national tour (ABNTour) was a series of 7 conferences held in 7 towns in Cameroon to train young entrepreneurs & media persons on digital branding and building a band, business or career via social media . Always smiling, I report as a journalist, consult as a media expert I am the founder of the AB Afrikpreneur Awards, an African award to celebrate entrepreneurial bodies & systems across Africa and the author of the book "How To Make Money, Build Right Relationships With Social Media" Through our media prowess, my team and I have been able to help several business owners, brands and institutions make more money and enjoy the beauty of business. I can do same for you ! I believe you have what it takes to change the world and live the life you’ve always wanted. The question is, are you ready to take your business or brand to the next level and start making more money ? I am one click away & anxious to help you [arreybmedia@yahoo.com]

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