Lawyers Accuse Police Of Torturing Surviving University Of Buea Student

Lawyers Accuse Police Of Torturing Surviving University Of Buea Student

Lawyers for the family of the deceased University of Buea student, Ngule Linus, who died in police custody, and his friend, Mboh Jeres Akua, have revealed that the surviving Jeres who remains in custody is being tortured by elements of the SEMIL in Buea.

In a statement Barrister Amungwa Tanyi signed on March 31, the lawyers said Mboh Jeres was tortured continuously for five days before he was transferred to the Gendarmerie Legion Command Centre in Buea, where he was again held incommunicado.

Lawyers said torture is being used to force confessions from the student. They also insinuate that the first student died as a result of similar torture.

In the statement, the lawyers petitioned the Presidency, the Ministry of Defence as well as other state institutions to investigate the handling of the case involving the two students.

One of the students, Ngule Linus, had died a few hours after he was taken into custody in what is suspected to have been a result of torture. The officers themselves have given three varying stories on what caused the death of the student (The Post, Edition, 02333).

The lawyers also question the arrest and search procedure of the students, saying it was done without a warrant and that the officers themselves were not searched before entering the students’ room where they claimed to have found a gun. They also said they were no witnesses to the search exercise.

The lawyers of the students are requesting an independent inquiry commission to investigate the death of the first student and the torture allegation it insinuates has been used to force confessions from the other.

The action of the officers violated Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and the security of person”.

Article 5of the declaration further says that, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”, which, according to the lawyers, was violated by the officers.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in its Article 9 (3) prescribes that anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorised by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release…..” In the case of the students, they were rather tortured for information, and as lawyers insinuate, forced confessions.

The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, in its Article 2 (2), frowns at torture, stating that, “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”

Article 4 states that, “Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law. The same shall apply to an attempt to commit torture and to an act by any person which constitutes complicity or participation in torture. (2). Each State Party shall make these offences punishable by appropriate penalties which take into account their grave nature.”

In recent times, law enforcement officers in Cameroon are increasingly normalising the use of torture, and there is no evidence that they are held to account for such acts.

Article 17 of the Third Geneva Convention states: “No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to any unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind.” Like other provisions, this Geneva Convention is violated in the case of Cameroon, as even though the late Ngule Linus is said to have died as a result of torture, his surviving friend, Mboh Jeres is said to be undergoing a similar abuse.

Commenting on the case, Okha Naseri Clovis, an ex-separatist fighter now at the DDR Centre, who has been accompanying the military in some of their operations, claims that the two were linked to separatist fighters.

He said he was part of the operation to fish them out. But, unlike the Military Command in Yaounde, who said the two were arrested on their way to receive weapons from Idenau, he rather claimed they were in Buea and trapped when they came to collect money from disguised officers who posed as sponsors for separatists. He said the two students were forced on a mission with them, to attack a base of a separatist commander in Fako. But, in all, the military and its allies have several versions of what happened and is still happening, making it difficult to trust them.

By Andrew Nsoseka, JADE