By Sandrine Akeabeh
The committee to protect Journalists (CPJ), has called for the immediate release of pidgin news broadcaster Samuel Wazizi.
The call was made on August 13, after CPJ noted that the journalist had been denied certain privileges. Samuel Wazizi was arrested on August 2, in Muea by the forces of law and order, but is now under military custody without access to his lawyer or family members.
According to CPJ’s African Coordinator Angela Quintal, Wazizi is being detained by the military which has no jurisdiction to investigate terrorism related charges. This according to her, has raised questions about due process and journalists’ safety in Cameroon.
Barrister Lyonga Edward Ewule, lawyer of the renowned Pidgin-English journalist said his client is being accused of collaborating with separatists and spreading separatist information.
Police reports hold that after searching the phone of the accused, messages about separatist activities were found . It was normal for Wazizi to have such information in his keeping due to his profession, says Barrister Ewule.
The barrister told CPJ that he believes the arrest and detention of his client until now is due to his critical views concerning the ongoing Anglophone crisis in the country. This according to Ewule, could mostly have been done during his popular pidgin news program “Halla Ya Matta.”
Barrister Ewule told the CPJ that, he has filed a heabeas corpus application at the High court in Buea, Fako Division, to force authorities to either produce Wazizi in court and justify his detention or demand his release.
2018 reports from CJP’s annual census, project Cameroon as the third worst jailer of journalists in Africa after Egypt and Eritrea.
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