Anglophone Detainees Denied Bail

The Yaounde Military Tribunal has rejected the defence lawyers’ demand to grant bail to all the Anglophone detainees currently in pre-trial detention at the Kondengui Prison.

The ruling is the main decision the court took on May 24 after heated arguments between the prosecution and defence lawyers.

The prosecution argued that the accused persons are facing terrorism-related charges, saying the suspects with such offences are not easily granted bail.

However, the prosecution said it would not bother if the two main leaders of the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium, Barrister Felix Nkongho Agbor Balla and Dr. Fontem Neba, are released under Judicial Supervision.

To the prosecution, only the two leaders could benefit from such conditional release because they are prominent personalities with fixed residences and permanent jobs.

Thus, the other 25 detainees’ including Mancho Bibixy, have to remain in prison until the court decides their fate.

Going by the prosecution, the two leaders could be released on condition that they should always appear in court whenever it is necessary.

Besides, they would be prohibited from travelling abroad as well as pay a certain amount of money as caution to be determined by the court.

While reacting to the prosecution’s submission, the defence lawyers, led by Barrister Charles Tchoungang, pleaded with the court to reduce certain hard conditions like paying a caution fee, reporting to the court on fixed dates to prove that they have not travelled out of the country and so on.

Barrister Tchoungang said Agbor Balla, a lawyer in Buea and Dr. Fontem Neba a lecturer at the University of Buea should be allowed to be monitored by the judicial authorities in Buea.

Following the submission of the prosecution, it is likely that the court will release the two leaders under judicial supervision on June 7.

According to Barrister Tchoungang, the court is coming back to its own vomit taking two different decisions for the leaders and the rest of the Anglophone detainees.

Recently, the defence lawyers had argued that the trial of the two leaders and the 25 other detainees should be in two different cases. But, the court ruled that all of them should be tried in one case.

The defence lawyers had argued that all the accused persons could not be tried in one case because they are people who are alleged to have committed various crimes, in different places in the Northwest and Southwest Regions and on different dates.

After listening to the prosecution and the defence lawyers last Wednesday, the court, led by its President, Col. Abega Mbezoa epouse Eko Eko, adjourned the matter to June 7.

It will be on that day that court will decide whether to release the two leaders under judicial supervision or not.

Coincidentally, June 7 is the date on which the Higher Judicial Council, chaired by President Paul Biya, is expected to take major decisions on the judiciary.

The detainees, who were arrested in the Northwest and Southwest Regions in connection with the ongoing Anglophone Crisis, are facing charges related to terrorism, secession, rebellion and propagation of false information against the State. Each of them will earn a death penalty if found guilty of all the charges.


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