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The Trial Of Sisiku AyukTabe And His Compatriots Who Were Abducted in Abuja At NERA Hotel To Continue On February, 7, 2019 In Yaoundé Cameroun

On February 7, 2019, the trial and persecution of Sisiku AyukTabe and his compatriots will continue at the military Tribunal in Yaoundé Cameroun. It will be recalled that Sisiku AyukTabe, Mr Nfor Ngalla Nfor, Dcn Tassang Wilfred, Barrister Shufai Blaise, Barrister Eyambe Elias, Prof Cheh A. Awasum, Dr Kimeng Henry, Dr Cornelius Kwanga, Dr Ogork Ntui and Dr Ndeh-Che Fidelis were abducted in Abuja at NERA hotel on January 5, 2018 and since then, their right have been continuously violated as civilians, professionals and refugees/asylum seekers.

This will mark their 3 appearance in front of a military tribunal and their fifth overall appearance infront of Cameroun courts. They face Bogus charges under a draconian 2014 Terrorism Law in Cameroun that was specifically designed to persecute political opposition and stifle dissent against Paul Biya’s repressive regime. Their first two Appearances in front of the court of appeal in Yaoundé was a case of HABEAS CORPUS filed by their Lawyers challenging their continued illegal detention after their abduction from Nera Hotel in Abuja, Nigeria and their subsequent illegal transfer to Cameroun in a process the lawyers described as akin to state gangsterism, which violates even it's own Laws, International Laws and International Conventions to which Cameroun is a signatory and which takes precedent over Cameroun’s Constitution.

The presiding Magistrate at the court of Appeal dismissed the Habeas Corpus without any just cause or explanation and has thus far refused to provide a copy of her ruling, more than 3 months after the case appeared before her.

In the meantime, Sisiku AyukTabe and his Compatriots were arraigned before the military Tribunal for the first time on December 6, 2018 where more than 17 charges, bordering on terrorism were unjustly and unjustifiably raised against them. Most of the charges against them carry the death penalty if convicted.

They do not expect justice from the system as it is marred by irregularities and political undertunes. In an instance, during the first hearing, the Military Judge demanded to know if the defendants had been served with the prosecution’s list of witnesses as required by the law. As it turned out, the defendants had not been properly served and the lawyers for the defence argued that the list of witnesses was thus inadmissible. By Cameroun law the list of witnesses must be given to the defendants at least 5 days prior to the commencement of the trial. The prosecutors on the other hand had not served the defendants the list prior to the commencement of the matter. The military judge, with recourse to the fact or the law ruled that the case had not started and adjourned the case to allow the prosecution properly serve the defendants with the list of witnesses so as to ensure that the witness list was admissible.

The case resumed on January 10, 2019, with a new military Judge. The former judge having been replaced without any reasons or explanations. The lawyers for the defence filed a preliminary objection sighting the incompetence of the military tribunal to try Ambazonians who were refugees and asylum seekers in a foreign country and who were abducted and illegally transferred to Cameroun without recourse to due process and in flagrant violation of international laws. The defence lawyers also sighted Cameroun’s laws indicating that issues of Nationality must be determined only by a Civil court in the country of residence or arrest and therefore requesting that Sisiku AyukTabe and his Compatriots be returned to Nigeria for a competent court to determine their nationality.

The new military judge, in complete disregard to the laws and the facts presented proceeded to hear arguments from the prosecution with regards to determination of Nationality.

The case was adjourned for this day February 7, 2019 for the prosecution to provide documentary evidence proving that Sisiku AyukTabe and his Compatriots are Cameroonians and for the defence to provide documentary evidence proving that Sisiku AyukTabe and his Compatriots were refugees and asylum seekers in Nigeria.

So far many see the trial as being political given the already flagrant abuses by the Judges. The adjournment coming up on February 7, 2019 is critical in determining if Cameroun will follow its own laws or even be seen to be trying to follow its own laws.
Barrister Nalowa Bih

Tags:The Trial Of Sisiku AyukTabe And His Compatriots Who Were Abducted in Abuja At NERA Hotel To Continue On February, 7, 2019 In Yaoundé Cameroun
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