Human Rights Watch Condemns Government Treatment of Jailed Ambazonian Leader

The last few days have been a difficult one for Barrister Shufai Blaise, inmate at the Kondengui prison in Yaounde, Cameroon.
Barrister Shufai is one of other separatist leaders serving a sentence for terrorism related charges at the maximum security prison.

Rushed to the Yaounde military hospital, his lawyers say penitentiary authorities have been adding salt to injury.

New York based international rights group, Human Rights Watch, HRW has weighed in on Shufai’s plight. During one of his nights in hospital, he was forced to sleep with both hands handcuffed to the hospital bed despite being barely able to move.

His lawyers would later condemn his return to prison stating that he is not in good shape yet. Human Rights Watch shares a similar view, as it believes “transferring Shufai, who is immunocompromised, to a crowded prison setting where transmission of Covid-19 is more likely seriously enhances the threats to his health and life.”

To the group, “Cameroon has a fundamental obligation to treat all prisoners with humanity and respect.”

Covid-19 measures undertaken by government it adds should be extended to inmates in detention facilities across the country. “They should ensure that all prisoners can take measures such as regular handwashing and have proper access to medical care.”

“They should also ensure sick prisoners receive the medical treatment they need and that their health or lives are not further jeopardized by increasing their risk of Covid-19 infection” HRW urges.

Since the coronavirus pandemic broke out the Cameroon government has remained silent over potential cases in prisons, sending a wave of panic among inmates.

The country now has over 4,000 positive cases with over 10) deaths.

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