Statement by the African Editors Forum: Cameroonian Journalist jailed for 10 years

The African Editors Forum (TAEF) condemns, in the strongest possible terms and with the contempt it deserves, the jail sentence and fine imposed on Cameroonian journalist Ahmed Abba by a military court in Yaounde.

Abba, a Radio France International journalist, was arrested and convicted just for doing his job. He has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined 55 million Cefas. TAEF calls on President Paul Biya and his government to immediately release Abba.

Ahmed Abba is serving a 10-year jail sentence. (RFI)

Over 633 days ago, in the north of Cameroon, Abba attended a function, in his official capacity as a journalist. When the function concluded, Abba was detained by law enforcement authorities and kept for over three months without access to his family, colleagues or lawyers in a Yaounde jail. He has been in detention ever since.

Abba was convicted on charges of “non-denunciation of terrorism” and “laundering of the proceeds of terrorist acts,” according to his lawyer and RFI.

TAEF continues to be deeply concerned about Abba’s welfare  and is working with the Committee to Protect Journalists, among others, to lobby for Abba’s freedom.

African Editors are deeply concerned that some governments on the continent are using the so-called war on terror to close close down democratic spaces and launch assaults on media and other freedoms.

TAEF also call for the immediate release of six other journalists who also have been detained for doing their work. The journalist are:

– Thomas Awah Junior, a journalist for and publisher of the monthly Aghem Messenger magazine.

– Mfor Ndong, publisher of the Bamenda-based newspaper Voice of the Voiceless, whom security forces arrested in Buea on February 9, 2017.

– Hans Achumba, a journalist for Jakiri Community Radio in the Bui Division of the Northwest Region of Cameroon.

– Tim Finnian, publisher of Life Time newspaper, whom security forces arrested on January 27, 2017,

– Jean Claude Agbortem, co-founder of the online magazine Camer Veritas, whom police arrested on January 28, 2017.

–  Medjo Lewis, editor of La Détente Libre, whom police arrested on February 22, 2017.

– Atia Azohnwi, a journalist with The Sun newspaper and the Buea head of the Cameroon Association of English Speaking Journalists, whom security forces arrested with Amos Fofung on February 9, 2017.

– Amos Fofung, Buea bureau chief of The Guardian Post, whom security forces arrested with Atia Azohnwi on February 9, 2017, in Molyko.

TAEF remains deeply concerned that some government on the African continent are using the so-called war on terror as a cover for a crack down on media freedom and independence. TAEF will continue to work for full freedom of the media across Africa. Only a free African media can truly tell the African story.


Issued by Jovial Rantao

Chairperson: The African Editors Forum