Kodengui: Anglophone Detainees Lament Neglect By Lawyers

Yaounde Kodengui Maximum Prison

In a three page hand written letter dated December 20, 2017, Anglophone detainees at the Yaounde Maximum detention prison-Kodengui have questioned their plight after the release of Barrister Nkongho Felix, Dr. Fontem Neba, Ayah Paul Abine and others, saying they have been left to themselves since the other high profile prisoners were granted clemency by a presidential decree.

The letter written and signed by Penn Terence Khan on behalf of the detainees believed to be over 60 including 34 others arrested on October 1 appeals to the conscience and good judgment of the lawyers to once more take interest in their plight.

“We are making this appeal with a lot of pain in our hearts. With lots of unanswered questions dancing in our minds…” the letter queries. “What went wrong? Was justice served? Was the defense counsel only constituted for the two lawyers locked up with us and we just benefitted from it? – the letter questions in earnest. It goes further to plead that they should not be left “to rot or pine away in this dungeon” and pray that they should all “together complete the fight we started on 21 October, 2016, and the legal battle that started in February 2017.

The letter gives a synopsis of the entire process still date, acknowledging that over 100 lawyers usually turn up pro bono in courts to defend them, lifting up their spirit and enthusiasm. But this has long ceased with only Barrister Ben Muna and Songwe Louisa showing up in court after the release of the others.

The heart touching letter concludes by adding that under civil law “we are all GUILTY unstill proven innocent. Who else can prove our innocence but you…” referring to the men and women of the learned profession. “We hope you receive our open plea not with disgust but as a cry or plea of help from your drowning brothers chained up a year and more for only exercising the freedom of expression as enshrined in article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”

By Abongwa Fozo

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