By Kesah Princely & Regis Che
Human Rights Watch has made startling revelations on the conditions of several prisoners held at a dreaded detention facility in Yaounde between July and August of 2019.
In a report published on August 20, the international human rights group accused the regime of President Paul Biya of torturing and holding over 100 detainees incommunicado.
Following a mutiny that escalated at the Yaounde Central Prison on July 23 this year, hundreds of detainees whose arrests were etheir linked to the deteriorating Anglophone armed conflict or to anti-Biya protests organised by political opposition CRM party leader, Maurice Kamto, were transferred to undisclosed locations including SED.
Those at the SED according to Human Rights Watch, were for 12 days beaten with machetes, planks and other objects. They were equally forced to sleep on bare ground and denied access to sunlight.
“The beatings started in Kondengui and continued at the SED. We were treated very badly and beaten up at least twice a day, in the morning and in the evening, with electric cables, clubs, and machetes. We slept on wet floors for two weeks. We had no access to any medical service,” an inmate told the rights group.
Another detainee revealed he was being beaten and taken to the SED half-naked where he was thrown into a small room with about 20 others.
“The guards beat us with sticks and electric cables. I was beaten like a snake. The food and hygiene were simply deplorable,” he said.
According to Human Rights Watch, Cameroon’s Secretary General at the Presidency, Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh, is yet to respond to a letter they sent him on the subject.
Since the outbreak of the Anglophone Crisis in 2016, government officials have often intimated that prisoners are being treated fairly.
After July’s prison protest, the country’s long-time octogenarian ruler, Paul Biya signed a decree to decongest detention centres.
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