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The president of the Republic of Cameroon, Paul Biya.
In our letters of 13 February 2017 and 25 April 2017 we raised concerns about military jurisdiction being exercised over civilians, as well as prolonged pre-trial detention of defendants in Cameroon.
We carried out an observation of the hearing that took place on 27 April 2017 at the Military Tribunal of Yaoundé in the case against Felix Agbor Balla and others. We shared our trial observation report with the president’s offices and other authorities in Cameroon shortly afterwards.
We understand that the president of the Republic of Cameroon has now ordered the unconditional release and withdrawal of proceedings against Felix Agbor Balla, Fontem Neba, Paul Ayah Abine and approximately 52 other defendants.We welcome this development and recognise Cameroon's efforts to comply with its international legal obligations.
However, although we see this release as a positive step, we remain concerned about the continued pre-trial detention of barrister Walter Abadem and others.
We understand that Mr Abadem was arrested in Buea and transported by police officers to Yaoundé. He was detained at Kondengui prison and spent some time in a hospital in Yaoundé after suffering from a back problem.
We understand that Mr Abadem remains in detention and that charges against him are still pending before the Military Tribunal of Yaoundé.
We urge that the relevant authorities:
We'll continue to monitor the situation of Mr Abadem, as well as that of Felix Agbor Balla, Fontem Neba, Paul Ayah Abine, and others.