Prisoners at Kondengui Maximum security prison have shown solidarity by resisting attempts by the State authorities to take detained Anglophone peace activist Abdul Karim Ali back to the dreaded national gendarmerie headquarters (SED).
MMI learnt that prisoners rose in protest today Tuesday, April 18, 2023, after the news made the rounds that Abdul Karim was to be taken back from the prison to SED, where he was likely to be tortured.
Confirmed accounts from the prison indicate that the inmates resisted the move arguing that Abdul Karim will only be taken back to SED if they all go together.
In an exclusive interview with MMI, Barrister Amungwa Tanyi Nicodemus, defence counsel for Abdul Karim said, it was an arbitrary action which shows that the authorities were acting in bad faith:
“There was no concrete reason as to why they wanted to extract him. I went to SED to find out the reason and in their usual manner, they said, they wanted to confront him with someone under investigation who mentioned his name after interrogation,” said Barrister Amungwa.
According to the defence lawyer, the action was unlawful, given that Abdul Karim is already appearing before the examining Magistrate.
“………….according to section 170 of the criminal procedure code, a person appearing before the examining magistrate for interrogation cannot appear again before a police investigator for the offences charged for already” the defence lawyer sounded.
“…………It was an arbitrary extraction for reasons we do not know. But we are very sure that they wanted to extract him so that they will continue to torture him,” Barrister Amungwa continued.
The procedure to extract an accused person under detention, Barrister Amungwa said involved getting permission from a judge:
“………….the examining magistrate shall inform the defendant during his first appearance that he/she is now under the examining magistrate and therefore may not be held by the police or gendarmerie by the same facts except by a regulatory commission and that if the inquiry commission confirms the charges, the defendant will now be charged before a competent court,” he explained.
By failing to follow this procedure, the actions of the SED officials were classed as unlawful “No regulatory commission was created for Abdul and he is detained at the Kondengui Central prison. If there are to confront him with someone, they have to go and meet him in prison and not extract him on a production warrant by the state prosecutor,” Barrister Amungwa further noted.
Abdul Karim who has already spent several months in prison was supposed to have appeared before the examining magistrate on Monday April 17 but this did not happen. It has, therefore, raised questions among human rights advocates as to why authorities wanted him at SED a day later.
By David Atangana