One and a half year into his 11 year jail term, Awah Thomas Junior has still not received adequate medical care, MMI is aware.
The detained journalist, the Committee to Protect Journalists, CPJ has revealed suffered from poor physical health before his arrest, but his health has deteriorated badly since his incarceration in Kondengui Central Prison in Yaoundé.
Sentenced to 11 years in jail on May 25, 2018, he was convicted on several charges including terrorism and the spreading of false news.
“On September 17, 2018, an increasingly frail and emaciated Awah was admitted to a private ward at the Yaoundé Central Hospital after a social media campaign went viral” CPJ notes.
He was eventually dismissed from hospital due to accumulating hospital bills and returned to prison still in his unhealthy state.
The CPJ like several other organisations have called for the release of Awah Thomas, especially for his health situation.
In one of such calls to the government, the CPJ wrote: “We therefore urge you to use the powers bestowed on you under the constitution of Cameroon to ensure that Awah is unconditionally released on humanitarian grounds. Such a gesture would be viewed both as a compassionate act and as a demonstration of your government’s commitment to complying with international human rights treaties to which Cameroon is a state party”.
“According to CPJ’s 2018 prison census, Awah was one of seven journalists imprisoned in Cameroon as of December 1, 2018, a fact that impacts international perceptions of your country and its commitment to human rights. … journalists should never be imprisoned for their work. We are particularly concerned that Awah remains jailed despite his deteriorating health” it added.
The pleas fell on deaf ears, as not only was he not released, but the ‘brutal crackdown’ on members of the press persisted.
To the CPJ, “the government has taken increasingly drastic steps to suppress the rights to transmit and receive information in Cameroon, particularly in predominantly Anglophone regions”.
This it explains has been through the suspension of media outlets and intimidation of journalists.
Awah Thomas like several other journalists in Cameroon is facing persecution for following his passion.
Mimi Mefo Info