Durban, South Africa, December 21, 2017 — The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes today’s ruling by a Cameroonian military appeal court that should result in Radio France Internationale radio journalist Ahmed Abba’s immediate release from prison.
“We are delighted that Ahmed Abba will finally be free, having already spent 876 days in jail too many. Abba was a victim of a monumental travesty of justice and should never have been arrested or charged in the first place,” said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal. “He must now be free to pick up the pieces of his life and return to his journalism without further fear of reprisal.”
Abba’s 10-year sentence was reduced to 24 months, a period he has already served, according to RFI and diplomats present at today’s court proceedings. RFI reported that a military court in Yaoundé acquitted Abba of laundering the proceeds of a terrorist act, but upheld his sentence for non-denunciation of terrorism. The news outlet indicated he would be released since he already served 29 months in prison.
Abba, CPJ’s 2017 International Press Freedom Award honoree , was convicted and sentenced in April this year to 10 years in jail on terrorism-related charges following his arrest on July 30, 2015 for reporting on the activities of extremist group Boko Haram. CPJ featured Abba in its 2017 Free the Press campaign.