Lawyers defending Islamic scholar, Abdul Karim, arrested a week ago in Bamenda, North West Region, Cameroon, have told MMI in an exclusive interview, that the conditions under which he is being held are taking a huge toll on his health and wellbeing.
Abdul Karim is currently being shuffled between the Unit known as “Groupement” and the Gendarmerie brigade, as they take turns to interrogate him.
His lawyers have since pressed for better conditions for his detention, to no avail.
Talking to MMI, one of the lawyers on his case, Barrister Tifuh Ochard Nkeng of Andang and Associates Law office, Bamenda revealed that he was interrogated in their absence — which to him “is incorrect.”
“He was feeling much pain. He had nerve pains because the detention conditions are precarious. He was talking about bites which he suspects are bed bugs,” his defence lawyer told MMI.
To him, “the detention conditions are precarious. They are not doing anything about it… In the room where he is found, about 15 of them are in a 3-meter square area. They are there without a toilet so everybody will defecate in a bucket and they take it out.”
During his first four days behind bars, Abdul Karim had little to eat and did not take his bath. “Within this time, the wife and family were denied access to him,” said Barrister Tifuh.
How he was arrested
Abdul karim was arrested last weekend.
This was after he intervened to get an impounded car released from a security checkpoint.
After getting to the security post for the second time in the day, he was held back and a commander called to the scene.
“Prior to that action they had been looking for him but did not know who he is actually,” said his lawyer, adding that he was whisked off by a commander who pulled up in an armoured car.
His lawyers report that getting access to him was hard, as security officials where he is being held tried restricting access to keep him cut off from family and lawyers.
Charges against Abdul Karim
Accused of promoting acts of terrorism, Abdul Karim is being held in relation with the war in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon.
To his lawyer, the accusations “are trumped up charges they bring up once and again. He does not do anything in hiding and his work has nothing to do with the armed struggle.”
The scholar, he noted, has like any other dutiful citizen been trying to do what he can at his own level to bring peace.
The charges, Barrister Tifuh believes, are similar to other government actions regarding the armed conflict: “they are systematic so that they can pounce on the people …”
This is not the first time Abdul Karim is being detained.
His latest arrest strangely however, comes shortly after a video he made denouncing xenophobic acts by the soldier, who is also the chief of Bwassa village, Moja Moja.
Many see Abdul Karim’s arrest as part of the victimisation tactics the government has been using against English-speaking Cameroonian activists which has led to hundreds of languishing in jail, some without trial.
Mimi Mefo Info