10, September 2019
The military court hearing case for Cameroonian musician Valsero which was to commence on 6 April in Yaoundé has been postponed once again to 8 October.
Valsero was presented to the court on 6 September along with chief opposition leader Maurice Kamto and 87 of his followers to face eight charges. The charges include insurrection, incitement to insurrection, group rebellion, criminal association, complicity, riotous assembly, disturbance of public order and hostility to the homeland, which carries the death penalty.
AFP reported that the court was forced to postpone the case after one of the accused Christian Penda Ekoka who is the ex-economic adviser to President Paul Biya, got sick.
“When he was arrested on 28 January, he was already sick, and the first days (in the cell), he did not have his medication”, the defendants lead council Sylvain Souop told the local journalists.
The accused persons were arrested about eight months ago in relation to the 26 January protests in Douala, known as the White Marches. The demonstrations were organised by the opposition Cameroon Renaissance Movement (MRC) following widespread suspicion of fraud during the October 2018 presidential election.
President Paul Biya, who has been in power since 1982, won those elections with 71% of the vote while MRC leader Maurice Kamto garnered 14%.
Valsero was arrested on 26 January and taken to Yaoundé Principal Prison. Kamto and his allies Penda Ekoka, Albert Dzongang and Paul Eric Kingue were detained on 28 January.
The defendant’s French lawyer Antoine Vey told Africa News on 5 September that “There is no justification for Kamto and his supporters to be incarcerated for eight months in these conditions. None of them took part in acts of violence, none called for acts of violence or rebellion; there is no reason for their arrest outside the political alibi.”
Before the court hearing postponement, the lawyers to the plaintiff had forwarded to the military court a list of 31 witnesses, including two ministers, the chief of the police and other high-ranking army and police officers.
Human rights groups and activists, including musicians, have denounced the jurisdiction of the military court to try these civilians. Amnesty International launched an online petition in April 2019 that calls on the Cameroonian authorities to free Valsero and the other detained protesters.
Culled from Musicinafrica.net