Cameroon: Release of Maurice Kamto and several detainees must signal end of repression of dissenting voices

Following today’s military court decision to release some opposition members in Cameroon, Samira Daoud Amnesty International Deputy Regional Director for West and Central Africa said:

“President Paul Biya’s announcement to end the prosecutions of opposition leader Maurice Kamto and several of his supporters is a welcome step towards ending the long repression of dissenting voices in Cameroon.
 
“The move follows an earlier presidential statement this week of the release of 333 people from the Anglophone regions.

Now the authorities should go further by releasing all other individuals arbitrarily detained for having exercised their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and set up clear steps to protect and respect human rights.
Samira Daoud, Amnesty International Deputy Regional Director for West and Central Africa

“At last Kamto, his supporters and many others arbitrarily detained for months have the opportunity to reunite with their families and loved ones.

"But now the authorities should go further by releasing all other individuals arbitrarily detained for having exercised their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and set up clear steps to protect and respect human rights.”

Background

Today, the military court in Cameroon’s capital Yaoundé has ended the prosecutions against opposition party leader Maurice Kamto, president of the Movement for the Renaissance of Cameroon (MRC), who was arrested on 28 January with hundreds of his supporters. 

They all had repeatedly denounced their arbitrary arrest for having exercised their right to freedom of assembly or opinion and called out that they should not be tried before a military court, in violation of international and regional human rights law.

Earlier this week, President Biya announced the release of 333 prisoners arrested for their alleged roles in the crisis in the Anglophone regions. 

A national dialogue over the crisis in the Anglophone regions ended yesterday.