• Campaigns

Cameroon: Fear for safety: Abdoulaye Math, President of the Movement for the Defence of Human Rights and Liberties

, Index number: AFR 17/007/1999

Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of two hhuman rights defenders, Abdoulaye Math and Semdi Soulay, who are reportedly being sought by the security forces in Cameroon.

PUBLIC AI Index: AFR 17/07/99
UA 128/99 Fear for safety 2 June 1999
CAMEROONAbdoulaye Math, President of the Mouvement pour la défense des droits
de l’homme et des libertés, Movement for the Defence of Human
Rights and Liberties (MDDHL), a non-governmental human
rights organization,
Semdi Soulay, his assistant.
Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of two human rights defenders,
Abdoulaye Math and Semdi Soulay, who are reportedly being sought by the security
forces in Cameroon.
On the evening of 28 May 1999, members of the so-called brigade anti-gang,
a joint ‘anti-robbery’ unit of the army and gendarmerie, came to the homes
of Abdoulaye Math and Semdi Soulay in Maroua in the Far-North Province of
Cameroon. Both men were away from their homes at the time. Abdoulaye Math's
house was reportedly surrounded by some 18 armed officers who pointed their
guns at a member of his family. On the following two nights, the security forces
again surrounded his house.
The reasons for this action by the security forces are not clear but are believed
to be connected to Abdoulaye Math and Semdi Soulay’s work with the Mouvement
pour la défense des droits de l’homme et des libertés (MDDHL), Movement for
the Defence of Human Rights and Liberties. The MDDHL is one of the few
organizations investigating human rights violations committed by the brigade
anti-gang, with a particular focus on reports of extrajudicial executions in
northern Cameroon.
There are also reports that Abdoulaye Math and Semdi Soulay are being sought
by the security forces in connection with meetings they had with the United
Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Torture in May 1999, during a fact-finding
mission in Cameroon.
Another human rights defender is feared to have been killed for documenting
extrajudicial executions. In October 1998 Alioum Aminou, a photographer, was
arrested by the security forces in Maroua and has not been seen since. In June
1998 he had been detained for several days after photographing the body of
customs officer Fabrice Habib, who was reportedly extrajudicially executed
by the security forces at Motouroua on 15 June 1998.
Members of the brigade anti-gang searched Abdoulaye Math's house twice in
December 1998, again in his absence. In early May 1999, members of the brigade
anti-gang were reported to have threatened MDDHL members attempting to
investigate possible extrajudicial executions.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Scores of criminal suspects have reportedly been extrajudicially executed in
North and Far-North Provinces since March 1998, when a special unit was deployed
to combat armed robbery in the region. In many cases those accused of armed
robbery have reportedly been taken from their homes and shot, and their bodies
later abandoned. In some cases there appeared to be no evidence that the victims
had been involved in any criminal offence.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail
letters in French or your own language:
2
- expressing concern at reports that the houses of Abdoulaye Math, President
of the Mouvement pour la défense des droits de l’homme et des libertés (MDDHL)
and his assistant Semdi Soulay were surrounded by heavily armed members of
the brigade anti-gang on 28 May 1999, and that a member of Abdoulaye Math's
family was threatened with a gun;
- expressing concern that they might be targeted because of their human rights
work;
- asking why the security forces did this;
- calling upon the authorities to ensure the safety of Abdoulaye Math and Semdi
Soulay, and to ensure that human rights organizations are able to operate freely;
- expressing concern at reports that photographer Alioum Aminou was detained
by the security forces in October 1998 and has not been seen since;
- calling upon the authorities to start a prompt, independent and impartial
inquiry into the arrest and subsequent "disappearance" of Alioum Aminou; for
the findings to be made public and for those found responsible to be brought
to justice.
APPEALS TO:
M. Paul Biya
Président de la République
Palais de l'Unité
1000 Yaoundé
Cameroon
Fax: + 237 20 33 06
e-mail: celcom@camnet.cm
Salutation: Monsieur le Président de la République
M. Samson Ename Ename
Ministre de l'Administration territoriale
1000 Yaounde
Cameroon
Fax: + 237 203306
Salutation: Monsieur le Ministre
M. Laurent Esso
Ministre de la Justice, Garde des Sceaux
Ministère de la Justice
1000 Yaoundé
Cameroon
Fax: 00 237 20 33 06
e-mail: celcom@camnet.cm
Salutation: Monsieur le Ministre
COPIES TO:
Le Messager (newspaper), fax: + 237 42 02 14
Cameroon Tribune (newspaper), fax + 237 304362
Ligue des droits et libertés (human rights organization)
Fax: + 237 44 22 53
and to diplomatic representatives of Cameroon accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 14 July 1999.

Choose a language to view report