President Paul Biya and other top Cameroon officials may soon be in hot water after cracking down on a September 22nd protest.
In an open letter to the president, Robert Amsterdam on behalf of the Amsterdam and Partners Law Firm says they are ready to take legal action due to the treatment meted on protesters.
Describing the crackdown as brutal, Robert Amsterdam reminded the president of an earlier letter in which he warned against rights abuses, promising to defend Kamto and the Cameroon Renaissance Movement.
“However, evidently your regime could not tolerate peaceful expressions of political opposition and chose to deploy firearms, water canons, teargas and truncheons against peaceful protesters,” he wrote.
He added that over half a thousand persons were arrested, 141 in the Centre region, 67 in the West region, 383 in Littoral region and one in each of of the East region and South regions.
He explained that “… There is evidence that the majority of those arrested were peaceful protesters who had not violated the law in any way. Scenes of torture and degrading treatment, that place your regime in violation of the United Nations Torture Convention, have been observed and filmed.”
Robert Amsterdam also dwelled on the arrest of journalists and members of the press; “… These attacks on the media and the freedom of expression represent yet more breaches of international and human rights laws.”
The arrest and detention of lawyers, and CRM party officials, Prof Maurice Kamto, Bibou Nissack and Prof Alain Fogue who were not actively partaking in the protests, he went on, are more rights violations seen in the crackdown.
“… It is my intention, along with co-counsel, to bring legal claims before appropriate national, regional and international courts. In addition, we are prepared to advocate for the imposition of economic and other sanctions against government officials who have violated the basic human rights of Kamto, his associates and the peaceful protesters,” Robert Amsterdam added.
He further warned: “In light of the above, I strongly urge you to change course immediately by releasing all individuals who have been arbitrarily detained, remedying the injuries and harm inflicted and guaranteeing that henceforth there will be tolerance for the freedom of expression and assembly and for peaceful political dissent to be exercised in Cameroon.”
He ended his letter with these words for President Biya: “… Repression and violence will come back to haunt you and those acting under your authority.”
Mimi Mefo Info