A Cameroonian journalist, Ahmed Abba, jailed for ten years for contact with Islamist militant group Boko Haram is to regain freedom after a court docket on Thursday shortened his sentence, his lawyer mentioned.
Abba, Radio France Internationale reporter, was arrested in July 2015 and sentenced in April this yr to 10 years imprisonment on terrorism fees that rights teams denounced as a sham.
Authorities mentioned they discovered proof on Abba’s pc of assaults deliberate by Boko Haram, in opposition to targets in Nigeria, Cameroon and neighbouring international locations. Over 20,000 folks have been killed by the bloodthirsty group because it started its guerrilla struggle in 2009.
Abba denied data of assaults and protested his innocence.
The sentence was lowered to 2 years on Thursday when an appeals court docket dropped the terrorism fees however upheld much less severe fees of “non-denunciation” of terrorism.
“Technically, Abba can be outside today, tomorrow or the day after tomorrow,” on condition that he has already been in jail for over two years, his lawyer Charles Tchoungang mentioned.
Abba’s forthcoming launch comes amid a crackdown on dissent by President Paul Biya, who’s searching for to increase his 35-year rule in 2018 elections.
The authorities is confronting a rising separatist insurgency within the nation’s Anglophone areas in addition to the menace from Boko Haram.
Patrice Nganang, a prize-winning Cameroonian writer, who lives in New York, was arrested throughout a go to to Cameroon this month for writing a Facebook submit important of Biya.
Nganang is being held in jail till court docket proceedings in January, 2018.
Rights Groups and RFI welcomed Thursday’s ruling.
“This ruling is a victory for Abba, who has been detained for more than two years simply for doing his job as a journalist,” mentioned Amnesty International Researcher, Ilaria Allegrozzi.