Cameroon Authorities Fail to Bring the Nera 10 to Court for a Third Time

October 11, 2018 — has received word from Sisiku AyukTabe and Co Solidarity (SACS) that the Republic of Cameroon failed to bring Julius AyukTabe and his nine associates to their hearing at the Central Appeals Court in Yaoundé, Cameroon, earlier today. The case was adjourned until November 1, 2018.

This is the third hearing in response to the Habeas Corpus petition filed on August 9, 2018. In none of the hearings have the prisoners been presented to the court by the government, which is a direct violation of legal procedure. “Habeas Corpus”, which means literally “produce the body,” is a widely accepted legal recourse which requires authorities holding someone in custody to deliver the imprisoned individual to the court and to show a valid reason for that person's detention.

Cameroonian law includes a writ of habeas corpus that specifies the right to this legal relief, and it was on this basis that the lawyers for the Nera 10 submitted their petition demanding their immediate release because of the illegal nature of their arrest. In response, the government has failed to bring the prisoners to court, despite the explicit nature of the law requiring this.

This morning, prison officials claimed they did not know they needed to bring the prisoners to court. The judge instructed them in clear terms that they were responsible to bring the prisoners to court on November 1 (see image).

A spokesperson for SACS noted: “Habeas Corpus application is an urgent matter, especially in this case that involves at least 8 months of incommunicado detention indicating the non respect of law and judicial process in the Cameroon Republic.”

Known as the “Martin Luther King of Ambazonia, Julius AyukTabe was the first president of the Interim Government of the Republic of Ambazonia, which declared its independence on October 1, 2017. He and his associates were arrested in Nigeria and forcibly returned to Cameroon in violation of non-refoulment, a fundamental principle of international law which forbids a country receiving asylum seekers from returning them to a country in which they would be in likely danger of persecution.

The grievances of Ambazonian lawyers have been central in the uprising of resistance within the occupied territory over the past few years.

More Info: Letter to Progressive Lawyers | English Translation of Habeas Petition | Free Julius AyukTabe and All Ambazonian Prisoners of Conscience