Boko Haram: Military Court Convicts Journalist Over Report, Risks Death Sentence
A military court in Cameroon has convicted Ahmed Abba, a journalist for Radio France Internationale’s (RFI) Hausa service, on charges of “non-denunciation of terrorism” and “laundering of the proceeds of terrorist acts”, according to his lawyer and RFI.
Abba’s lawyer, Clement Nakong, told the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) that Abba, who has been jailed since July 2015 in relation to his reporting on the regional armed group Boko Haram, could face the death penalty on the first charge and a maximum of five years in prison on the second charge at a sentencing hearing scheduled for April 24.
Nakong said Abba would appeal to have the conviction overturned.
RFI reported that the military tribunal acquitted the journalist of the charge of ���apologising for acts of terrorism”.
The CPJ called on Cameroonian authorities to release Abba without delay and not to contest the journalist’s appeal.
“The military court’s conviction of Cameroonian radio journalist Ahmed Abba on terrorism charges that could carry the death penalty is an outrage,” Robert Mahoney, CPJ deputy director, said in a press release on the CPJ’s website.
“Covering terrorism as a reporter must not be equated with committing acts of terror. Each day Abba spends behind bars is a travesty of justice.”
Abba told the CPJ through a proxy in January: “This is an unfair trial. I have never been told who I know that I did not denounce, or who are my accomplices,.
“I could get justice in a civil court, maybe, but not in a military court. Right now I don’t know my fate.”