By David Atangana
Committee to Protest Journalists, CPJ and Reporters Without Borders, RSF have condemned the 12-year prison sentence, slammed on journalist Ahmadou Vamoulke.
The former General Manager of state-owned Cameroon Radio Television, CRTV was sentenced Tuesday, December 20, 2022 by the Special Criminal Court in Yaounde for embezzlement — when he served as General Manager.
The court also ordered him to pay a fine of about 47million FCFA.
Addressing the court before the sentence was handed down, Amadou Vamoulke narrated his ordeal saying: “You cannot imagine what a human ordeal it is to be brutally thrown behind bars for something you know nothing about, for being a subject of slander peddled by sponsored media, when you believed yourself to be both an honest man, and an honest man…”
In separate reaction to Wednesday’s court ruling, CPJ and RSF condemned the ruling calling for the release of the Vamoulke.
Angela Quintal, Africa Programs coordinator at Committee to Protect Journalists, CPJ described the ruling as travesty of justice.
“Tuesday’s late-night conviction and sentencing of Cameroonian journalist Amadou Vamoulké on retaliatory charges of embezzlement is a monumental travesty of justice and could be tantamount to a death sentence,” Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa program coordinator, said in New York on Wednesday.
“Vamoulké is 72 and has already spent more than six years in arbitrary detention. Prosecutors must agree not to contest his appeal and given his age, failing health, and the overcrowded, unhygienic conditions at Kondengui Central Prison, immediately allow him to go home on bail,” Angela added.
According to Reporters Without Borders, there is no case against Vamoulke.
Describing it an empty file, the organization demanded for his release with all charges against him dropped.
“The epilogue of the endless trial against Amadou Vamoulke is also distressing and grotesque.He gets 12 years in prison. RSF denounces an empty file and calls for the dropping of all charges against him,” RSF tweeted.
72-year-old veteran journalist, Amadou Vamoulke was arrested in 2016 and hitherto held in detention at Kondengui maximum security prison in Yaounde.
His case suffered over 130 adjournments, apparently the most delayed in record times in the world.
He is the longest-serving of five journalists currently imprisoned in Cameroon, according to CPJ’s annual prison census of jailed journalists as of December 1, 2022.
Cameroon is the third-worst jailer of journalists in Africa, after Egypt and Eritrea, according to a latest CPJ report.
Mimi Mefo Info