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Reporters Without Borders: Free Cameroon's Ahmed Abba

 Yaoundé - As a Cameroonian military court prepares to rule on RFI reporter Ahmed Abba's appeal against a ten-year jail sentence for co...

 Yaoundé - As a Cameroonian military court prepares to rule on RFI reporter Ahmed Abba's appeal against a ten-year jail sentence for covering Boko Haram operations, a support committee of more than 35 NGOs, friends and colleagues, coordinated by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), calls for his release.

We, international media freedom and human rights NGOs, media outlets and well-known figures, call for the immediate and unconditional release of Radio France Internationale's Hausa-language correspondent, Ahmed Abba, who has been imprisoned in Cameroon since July 30, 2015. 

A military court in Yaoundé is expected to issue a decision on his appeal on December 21st, the latest development in a judicial ordeal that has dragged on for more than two years.
Ahmed Abba Facing Military Judgement 

On April 24th, Abba was sentenced to ten years in prison and a fine of 57 million CFA francs (85,000 euros) on charges of failing to report terrorist acts to the authorities and laundering the proceeds of a terrorist act. 

His only crime was to have covered the terrorist group Boko Haram's activities in Cameroon's Far North.

The victim of a loose interpretation of Cameroon's 2014 terrorism law, as the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) noted in a special report published in September, that Abba is accused of complicity with Boko Haram, although no evidence was brought to support this claim during his trial and he has consistently denied it.

"I am a patriot and I love my country; I have never associated with terrorists in order to harm my country and I will never do that," said Abba at his most recent hearing on November 16.

Abba's trial has been marred with inconsistencies, has been postponed 18 times, and has served to highlight the ongoing efforts of Cameroonian authorities to use anti-terror legislation as a tool to muzzle critical voices. We join voices in condemning the ongoing miscarriage of justice against Abba.

We call on the Cameroonian authorities to release Ahmed Abba from government custody immediately and to drop all charges brought against him.

Journalists do the important work of safeguarding democracy. Like all journalists, Abba should be free to carry out his work without fear of reprisal. - Reporters Without Borders 

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