April 16, 2017 marks the fifth years, Minister of state Marafa Hamidou Yaya, was arbitrarily targeted and arrested on the trumped up charge of “intellectual complicity of embezzlement of public funds” which in fact is an unstated judicial practice in Cameroon to lock up ordinary Cameroonians the regime of Yaoundé finds to be an inconvenience.
Hence, after a mock trial, which dishonors the institutional judicial system, The Minister of State’s nightmare continued in a form of an illegal extended prison sentence, which in fact constitutes a death penalty due to his conditions of detention, failung health and advanced age for an ordinary Cameroonians. Accordingly, the Minister of State, Marafa, is illegally incarcerated in a high security prison of sinister reputation called the Secretary of State for Defense (the SED). In addition, the Minister is confined Manu Military and around the clock within a tiny infected cell in flagrant violation of the international conventions ratified by the State of Cameroon.
As a result of his inhumane and abject conditions of detention, Minister Marafa has frequently sustained many health problems that seriously damaged his physical integrity and significantly reduced his chances for full recovery in prison. The organizations of the Cameroonian Diaspora signatory to this declaration, in collaboration with ASMA, pledge its continuous support, encouragement and moral comfort to Minister Marafa and his family. At the same time, continue to lead the campaign for his liberation by pulling down the fire alarm to wake up the national and international community for its anemic responses regarding Marafa’s inhumane and abject kidnapping’s conditions.
What is striking about Minister of State Marafa’s sacrifice is the lawlessness of the Cameroonian government that needs to be situated in a larger economy of violence beginning with the extra-judicial massacres of political opponents during the brutal devastation of the country war of independence during the 1950s. That macabre reality copy and pasted itself again with the so-called Coup d’état of April 1984 where many Cameroonians from Marafa’s northern Cameroon region were murdered by the state sponsored death squads with no chance to stand trial. The Minister barely escaped with his life on his way to be executed where he was recognized by his wife who managed to get him off the truck of death. Hence, the plight of the Minister is not unique but is tied to a violent pattern with which the regime of Yaoundé, steeps into a political culture of corruption and paranoia, deals with ordinary Cameroonians he believed to represent a threat. At the same, intimidating any other ordinary Cameroonians who attempt to engage in a long overdue battle for regime change in the country.
Undeniably, the Cameroonian‘s vindictive attitudes against so-called political opponents calls for very crucial and urgent responses considering that:
• That Minister Marafa Hamidou Yaya was imprisoned without trial, and was never entitled to a free and fair trial.
• That he is in reality a victim of acts of repression which are confined to political incarceration
• That he has been recognized as a political prisoner by various human rights organizations and the immense international community
• That the numerous appeals for his release, made in particular by bodies such as the Socialist International, the UN, the US State Department, etc., have remained inaudible in Cameroon
• That including Resolution No. 22/2016 of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the United Nations calling for its release has still not received a reply from the Cameroonian authorities
We who have signed this declaration:
1. Request once more that the Minister of State’s Marafa’s immediate and unconditional release from the enduring martyrdom illegally imposed upon him by a vengeful regime.
2. Condemn the repression of Paul Biya’s regime who wrongly believes that he has the right to sacrifice ordinary Cameroonians at will. President Paul Biya’s foolishness includes the specific case of Minister of State’s continued arbitrary detention despite his proven innocence, his failing health and the many international calls for his release. This death sentence upon the Minister of State is partly due to the Honorable Janet Garvey, then United States Ambassador’s WikiLeaks release who portrayed the Minister Marafa as a worthy replacement of the immovable dictator of Yaoundé, which enraged him, further against Marafa.
It is urgent to put the regime of Yaoundé under pressure to release the Minister Marafa on humanitarian and for health reasons. The degradation of his health calls for an immediate and urgent evacuation in order to receive immediate and adequate care. The Minister of State Marafa Hamidou Yaya never wanted to escape the justice of his country even when he had many opportunities to do. He voluntarily subjected himself to the regime of Yaoundé’s kangaroo court hoping to prove his integrity to no avail.
We hold President Paul Biya personally responsible for this unbearable situation, including, anything that could happen to the Minister of State Marafa Hamidou Yaya as long as the regime of Yaoundé cynically continues to block Marafa’s medical evacuation on humanitarian grounds.
We will continue to lead the campaign for the liberation of all political prisoners in Cameroon and the necessity for an urgent and immediate release of Minister of State Marafa Hamidou Yaya; and call on all those who are enamored of Justice to join our national and international mobilization for its release.
We are launching an urgent appeal to the partners of Cameroon to use all their power to pressure President Paul Biya for the immediate release of Minister of State Marafa Hamidou Yaya before is too late.
Signatory: The Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners (CR2P)
Paris on 16 April 2017