Military Court hands panic sentences to Anglo detainees

It took the court 16 months to finally pass sentences on Mancho Bibixy and six other Anglophones detained in Kondengui but the sentences did not reflect the attitude the court had put on for all these months.
Mancho Bibixy, the coffin revolution activist was thus slammed a 15-year jail term by the Yaounde military court after he was found guilty of acts of terrorism, secession amongst other charges.
The military court also handed out jail sentences to six other accused Anglophones, ranging from 11 years to fifteen years and a collective fine of 268 million francs CFA; 64 million as damages requested by the civil party and 204 million as damages requested by the State.
They have 10 days to file an appeal from the day of the judgment, the presiding magistrate Col. Abega Mbezoa said as she reeled out the sentences.
Like Mancho Bibixy, Tsi Conrad was slammed a 15-year jail term, Tamngwa Malvin Tamngwa, Tha Emile Agwe, and Aselecha Martin were handed 13-year jail terms each.
Journalist Thomas Awah Junior was slammed an 11-year jail term while Guingah Valentine got the least of terms as he got 10 years.
They will each have to pay the sum of Four million Five Hundred and Twenty Thousand, Seven Hundred and Fifty Francs CFA as fines or spend additional two years in jail, the presiding magistrate decided.
For all the threats of life imprisonment to death sentences, the military court seemed to have panicked or better still bowed to pressure from the defense lawyers as well the detainees who had warned the judge on the consequences of a heavy sentence on the two English-speaking Regions.
In a previous session on Thursday, Mancho Bibixy warned the court that the situation in the Anglophone Regions was not getting any better since their arrest and any attempt at passing a heavy sentence on them could provoke the situation even further.
A warning that was not taken lightly as the court before passing the sentences the next day, seized all phones in court to avoid communication with the outside world and only handed them back when the sentences had been passed and the detainees taken away.
However, the sentences were received by Mancho Bibixy and co in a rather lighter mood as they sang their way back into the van which took them to their prison cells.
Despite the sentences, it does not look like the matter would be ending any time soon as the defense counsel have vowed to challenge the decision.
“We are going to challenge the [court’s] decision. You saw that there were no particular proofs to back the claims of the civil party, so we are very surprised with the court’s judgment,” Barrister Claude Assira one of the defense counsel said.
“After the court declared them guilty, we knew that it [their sentences] will not be more than 10 years but we couldn’t imagine that they will add one day on it because the charges were so weak because the court was unable to show any proofs during almost two years of hearing. The court has missed a golden opportunity to serve justice to Cameroonians and send a positive message,” he added.
By Francis Ajumane

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