Contra Nocendi successfully gains release of physically abused minor from Buea detention centre

A minor detainee subjected to physical abuse in a Buea detention centre was transferred to a local hospital, after Contra Nocendi successfully sought medical intervention for him as part of its continued efforts to secure the rights of people in detention.

In late December 2017, Contra Nocendi International and Contra Nocendi Cameroon found out that a minor (identity withheld for safety) was possibly being held in detention in Buea, awaiting trial before a military tribunal. Shockingly, the boy showed clear signs of significant physical abuse. He was arrested a few months ago and had been subjected to torture and other forms of severe physical trauma, as indicated by signs on his body. Due to the treatment he was subjected to at the centre, he also suffered a fracture in his leg.

On finding out about the boy, Contra Nocendi took note of his condition and concluded that he was receiving very litte or no medical attention at the centre.

Contra Nocendi Cameroon along with Contra Nocendi International immediately sought a medical report from the doctor at the detention center, on behalf of the minor. The report went before the military tribunal, which then granted release to the boy on medical grounds and he was also allowed to be transferred to a hospital for medical attention.

The case of this minor comes as no surprise as incarceration rates in the region have gone up since the start of the crisis in the Anglophone region. An increasing number of minors are being arrested on grounds of terrorism charges since the crisis began and many are awaiting trial before the military tribunal, Contra Nocendi Cameroon staff found after multiple visits to detention centres in Buea. The prolonged periods of time for which they are being held as pre-trial detainees also is also very concerning.

Contra Nocendi Cameroon and Contra Nocendi International have repeatedly raised issues about persons being held in detention in the Southwest region of Cameroon. As we have repeatedly stated to government entities and mandate holders at the Africa Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the provision of sufficient medical attention is a minimum standard under international law. We have grave concerns that the government of Cameroon is not meeting this minimum standard. We also wish to reiterate our objection to the fact that military tribunals have been granted jurisdiction over civilians under domestic Cameroonian law. We firmly believe this violates international human rights law and that the government must change course.

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