Contra Nocendi calls for release of minor held in prolong pre-trial detention in Cameroon

Contra Nocendi Cameroon and Contra Nocendi International jointly call for the release of 16 year old Clinton Awungafac. Clinton has been held in the Southwest Region of Cameroon for more than 2 years without trial and without formal charges being brought against him. His only crime is that he looks roughly of a similar age as some of those taking up arms with non-state actors in the region. We have long viewed his detetion as arbitrary and unlawful. It is well past time for Clinton to go home to his family and live his life free from being unlawfully detained. We call on the government of Cameroon to release Clinton.

 

Clinton was detained in Menji on the 13th of November 2017. This village is situated in the heart of the on-going crisis in the Southwest Region of Cameroon He was first taken to the Gendarmerie station. He was subsequently transferred to Buea central prison, where he was detained until 13 October 2019 before being transferred to Mamfe. While at Buea Central Prison, Clinton was under the jurisdiction of a Military Tribunal. When his lawyer, Barrister Blaise Chamango, went to ascertain why Clinton was being held in detention, Blaise verified and confirmed at the Buea central prison registry that he was detained for “acts of terrorism and others”.  This is despite the fact that no formal charging document or writ of remand has been produced to support Clinton’s detention. Speaking to Clinton, he confirmed that prior to the intervention of Contra Nocendi, he had never had access to legal counsel because he was neither informed nor can he afford one. He has never been granted any bail or any other form of release since his arrest and detention

 

Contra Nocendi International and Contra Nocendi Cameroon have been supporting Clinton since July 2019. We filed a writ for habeas corpus on his behalf. Dispite repeated meetings with the local magistrate and raising the issue with the Procurer General of the region, Clinton has not been afforded a hearing on his writ of habeas corpus petition.

 

We have recently been informed that through an intermediary, Clinton has been approached to provide a bribe for his release. This conduct alone is unlawful and the idea that someone would try to profit of the needless suffering of child is repugnant. We cannot understate of collective disgust.

 

As it is clear that there is very little realistic opportunity for Clinton to receive a hearing, we have raised our concerns with the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights’ Special Rapporteur on Prisons, Conditions of Detention and Policing in Africa. We have urged the Special Rapporteur to inquire on Clinton’s behalf. It is shameful that Clinton cannot be afforded his day in court to challenge his detention.

 

Contra Nocendi Cameroon and Contra Nocendi International call on the government of Cameroon to do the right thing and free Clinton. His detention is, and continues to be, arbitrary and contrary to international human rights law. He should be home with his family, not paying for a non-existent crime.

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