Friday 20 April 2018

RFI journalist acquitted in Cameroon

RFI journalist acquitted in Cameroon
(AFP 12/22/17)

A Radio France International (RFI) correspondent was acquitted Thursday in Cameroon after he was jailed for 10 years in April for "laundering the proceeds of terrorist acts", representatives said.

A military tribunal in Yaounde acquitted Ahmed Abba following an appeal, but he was sentenced to 24 months in prison for a lesser charge of failing to "denounce acts of terrorism".

This paves the way for his release although he has served a total of 29 months behind bars following his arrest in July 2015.

He had been facing up to a decade in jail after the court agreed in April with authorities' charges that he had collaborated with the Boko Haram jihadist group and failed to pass on information about planned attacks.

Abba has always denied all charges.

In a statement, his employer RFI said it had "not stopped proclaiming the innocence of Ahmed Abba".

"It took four months of waiting for Ahmed to see his lawyer. During this period, our correspondent was abused and it was not until February 2016 that the judicial process was allowed to begin," it said on its website.

Global media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said: "Nothing can bring back those years he lost in jail but we are relieved to learn Abba could soon rejoin his family."

Cameroon, which has been battling militants in its remote northern region for years, ranked 130th out of 180 countries on RSF's global freedom ranking this year.

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