Global Conscience Files for Immediate Release of Suspects in Buea Prisons

Global Conscience Initiative (GCI) today filed before the High Court of Fako Division “holden” at Buea an application for a Writ of Habeas Corpus to issue for the immediate release of three persons who have been in detention at the Buea Regional Prisons since August 2008. The trio who were arrested from their homes in Matoh in Meme Division by a vigilante group and then transferred to the Kumba police station, were subsequently moved to the Buea Central prisons where they have since been held without due regards to Law N°2005 of 27 July 2005 bearing on the harmonized Criminal Procedure Code in Cameroon.

Deposing to the affidavit in support of the Writ of Habeas Corpus, GCI’s international interns; Francesco Frigerio from Italy and Tiffany Hu from Canada together with GCI’s Volunteer Chamango Blaise working on the GCI Prisoner’s Rights Defense Project, prayed the Court order the immediate release of Akwo Kevin (21), Itoe Elvis (20) and Momfor Jong David (42) should the State of Cameroon fail to show sufficient cause why the trio should continue in detention.

The application which is registered as Suit No HCF/0042/HB/09 is hinged on Sections 584 and 585 of the Cameroon Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) as read with other relevant provisions of the said CPC and seeks to establish judicial accountability for administrative and judicial malfeasants by elements of law and order in Cameroon.

GCI’s application which is supported by an initial 20 paragraph affidavit, highlights the irregularities and illegality associated with the continuous detention of the suspects and is instituted against; The Commissioner of Government of the Military Tribunal in Buea; and the Superintendent of the Buea Central Prisons as respondents.

According to Akwo Kevin, Itoe Elvis and Momfor Jong David, they were arrested from their homes in Matoh at night by a vigilante group, and were taken to the police station in Kumba where they were detained for one week without any statements recorded from them. They said they were later moved to the Buea prisons and have been in prison since then. They said they were not aware of the reasons for their detention and that no charges have been brought against them or any statements recorded from them nor have they been taken before any Examining Magistrate as required by law.

Global Conscience is worried that the conduct of the arrest and detention of the three suspects failed to observe the formalities and procedures established by law and that it further compounded the constitutional and human rights of the indigent prisoners.

“The law is very clear about what should be done in cases of alleged illegal arrest and detention and we are exploring how to use the law to free captives,” Said Samba Churchill, GCI’s boss. He lamented that the number of persons being illegally held in prisons in Kumba and Buea was disturbing and that regrettably the victims are either to poor to afford fees to pay lawyers or ignorant of their rights under section 584 and 585 of the Criminal Procedure Code. “We are trying to create and build that awareness”, said the human rights activist, while admitting that the task of changing the old mentality of the justice administration is enormous.

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