Cameroonian Journalist, Ahmed Abba Wins International Press Freedom Award After Sentenced 10 Years In prison

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”Journalists around the world face growing threats and pressure. Those we honor are the most courageous and committed. They stand as an example that journalism matters…”

        CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon.

Ahmed Abba, journalist with Radio France has been awarded International Press Freedom Award.  Though he was given 10 years in prison early this year by a Cameroon military tribunal, he has emerged proud recipient of the prestigious award, being the only African this year.

 He joins Patricia Mayorga, a Mexican journalist, Pravit Rojanaphruk from Thailand and Afrah Nasser, a Yemeni reporter and blogger. 

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He is one of the few who has won this award since its inception in 1991.The annual prize is awarded by media rights body Committee to Protect Journalists, CPJ to honor journalists who show courage in defending press freedom despite facing threats or imprisonment.

Abba was sentenced for non-denunciation of terrorism and laundering of the proceeds of terrorist acts after his arrest on July 30, 2015 in Maroua, Cameroon suspected of collaboration with Boko Haram and withholding information. He was ferried to Yaounde, where has spent over 600 days already. 

  photo credit: Africa Independent News

Africa News published that Abba was also fined 55,726,325 CFA francs (over $90,000) or face five extra years in prison in default of payment. Amnesty International described the conviction and sentencing as an unfair trial is a travesty of justice. He however escaped a controversial death penalty in the December 2014 anti-terrorism law for perpetrators or accomplices of terrorist acts. 

All of the winners will be honored at CPJ’s annual award and benefit dinner in November. 

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