A Cameroon military court has sentenced the head of an opposition party in the north to 25 years in prison, local media reported on Wednesday.
Aboubakar Siddiki, head of the Patriotic Movement of the Salvation of Cameroon was convicted of hostility against the homeland, revolution and contempt of President Paul Biya, who has been in power for 35 years.
“We will appeal this decision, which we do not believe at all right,” local media quoted his lawyer Emmanuel Simh as saying.
Aboubakar Siddiki was arrested in August 2014. He was accused of being involved in a conspiracy to destabilize the country. Meanwhile the court dropped all charges against three journalists who were accused in 2014 of non-denunciation of information and sources over the same affair.
Rights group Amnesty International denounced the sentence in a statement saying it had been an ‘’unfair trial’’. ‘’Aboubakar Siddiki is the latest victim of the Cameroonian authorities’ strangling of opposition voices,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi, Amnesty International’s Lake Chad researcher. “He has already spent more than three years in detention, suffered torture and now he must face a future behind bars on the basis of a politically motivated and deeply flawed trial.’’
Protests in English-speaking northern Cameroon have been repressed as of late, leading to several deaths and arrests. Demonstrators have denounced a perceived marginalization in the mostly French-speaking country.—Agencies