Dakar, December 21, 2022—In response to news reports that a special criminal court in Yaoundé Tuesday sentenced Amadou Vamoulké, the former managing director of the state-owned Cameroon Radio and Television (CRTV) broadcaster, to 12 years in prison and 47 million FCFA (US$76,000) in fines, the Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the sentence in this statement.
“Tuesday’s late-night conviction and sentencing of Cameroonian journalist Amadou Vamoulké on retaliatory charges of embezzlement is a monumental travesty of justice and could be tantamount to a death sentence,” Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa program coordinator, said in New York on Wednesday. “Vamoulké is 72 and has already spent more than six years in arbitrary detention. Prosecutors must agree not to contest his appeal and given his age, failing health, and the overcrowded, unhygienic conditions at Kondengui Central Prison, immediately allow him to go home on bail.”
Vamoulké’s lawyer, Alice Nkom, confirmed to French news agency Agence France-Presse that her client would appeal. She previously told CPJ that Vamoulké’s arrest was a reprisal for his management of CRTV. “The official reason for his arrest is a pretext for trying to silence journalists in Cameroon … Amadou never accepted as black what he knew was white,” Nkom said.
Vamoulké was arrested on July 29, 2016, and is the longest-serving of five journalists currently imprisoned in Cameroon, according to CPJ’s annual prison census of jailed journalists as of December 1, 2022. The country is the third-worst jailer of journalists in Africa, after Egypt and Eritrea.