New York, April 20, 2017–A military court in Cameroon today convicted Ahmed Abba, a journalist for Radio France Internationale’s Hausa service, on charges of “non-denunciation of terrorism” and “laundering of the proceeds of terrorist acts,” according to his lawyer and RFI. The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Cameroonian authorities not to contest the journalist’s appeal and to release him without delay.
Abba’s lawyer, Clément Nakong, told CPJ that Abba, who has been jailed since July 2015 in relation to his reporting on the extremist group Boko Haram, could face the death penalty on the first charge and a maximum of five years in prison on the second charge at a sentencing hearing scheduled for April 24. Nakong said Abba would appeal the conviction after the sentencing hearing. RFI reported that the military tribunal acquitted the journalist of the charge of “apologizing for acts of terrorism.”
“The military court’s conviction of Cameroonian radio journalist Ahmed Abba on terrorism charges that could carry the death penalty is an outrage,” CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney said. “Covering terrorism as a reporter must not be equated with committing acts of terror. Each day Abba spends behind bars is a travesty of justice.”