Human Rights Watch presses for Abdul Karim’s release

The international rights group has in a statement lauded the release of Kamto and other MRC militants, stating that it was wrong to have had them arrested in the first place.

“Kamto and other members of the political opposition should be allowed to continue their work, Human Rights Watch, (HRW)” said.

HRW also said cases of unlawful arrest and detention like that of Abdul Karim are rife, with Cameroon’s poor track record of respect for human rights.

“Many people perceived as opposing the government are held often on spurious charges related to national security and terrorism” it said.

Lawyers Abdul Karim who was arrested and has since been in detention say he was held incommunicado for days after his arrest at the SED. He is currently charged with acts of terrorism, financing terrorism, and secession.

Human Rights Watch noted it has previously documented the widespread use of torture and incommunicado detention at the SED, mainly of detainees suspected of ties to armed separatist groups.

“The prison has been used to hold people incommunicado and as a place of torture since at least 2014. Torture is pervasive across the country, in both official and unofficial detention centers” it said.

According to Lewis Mudge, HRW central Africa director, “he release of Kamto and other prisoners does not demonstrate that Cameroon is turning a new leaf because unlawful arrests continue”.

“The government” he adds, “should demonstrate that meaningful change has come by ending unlawful arrests, incommunicado detention, and torture and by respecting the rule of law.”

Despite earlier release of other political prisoners, Abdul Karim is one of several other government critics still held behind bars.

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