The human rights organization Amnesty International has called for the release of Cameroonian journalist Ahmed Abba.
According to Amnesty International, Mr. Abba is a Hausa language correspondent for the French radio service Radio France Internationale (RFI).
He was arrested on July 28th in the Cameroonian city of Maroua while investigating the Boko Haram conflict in the north of the country. Since July, Mr. Abba has been denied contact with his lawyer and family, and has been held in secret detention which is prohibited under international law. Throughout his entire detention no official charges have been brought against him, and he has been denied the right to challenge the lawfulness of his detention.
Ilaria Allegrozzi, Amnesty International’s Central Africa researcher, challenged the legality of Mr. Abba’s detention, "Whatever the reason for Ahmed Abba’s arrest is, there can be no justification for secret detention. Both international human rights law and Cameroonian national law require that he has regular access to a lawyer and that any charges against him be made public."
Mrs. Allegrozzi also noted that the risk of Mr. Abba being tortured by the Cameroonian authorities increases if he continues to be held in secret detention. According to an Amnesty International report more than 1,000 people have been arrested by the Cameroonian government for their alleged support of Boko Haram.
Many of these detainees are held in inhumane conditions and face extremely long delays before facing a trial. Last month Amnesty International met with several detainees in the Cameroonian capital of Yaounde. These detainees reported being ill-treated by the Cameroonian authorities, and claimed that they were held without access to lawyers or their families.