By Eric Tataw – Saturday February 23, 2019.
The case pitting ten (10) Anglophone pro-independence leaders and the government of Cameroon would be moved from the Yaoundé Military Court, Barrister Fru John Nsoh, the lead defense lawyer has told National Telegraph, Friday, February 22, 2019.
The suit that held Wednesday, February 20, 2019, file by the state of Cameroon that has been adjourned to Thursday, March 7, 2019, wouldn’t hold anymore at the Yaoundé Military Court, Barrister Nsoh insisted.
The Barrister said the Defense has on Thursday, February 21, 2019, filed a Notice of Appeal at the Yaoundé Military Court that has been hearing the matter. Nsoh continued that the Notice of Appeal has been filed in accordance with the law that prescribes the case be halted at that level and transferred to other quarters.
Barrister Fru John Nsoh went on that on Friday, February 22, 2019, a Memorandum and Grounds of Appeal was filed at Court of Appeal of the Centre Region, indicating the need to henceforth hear the matter at that level.
The Lawyer has raised legal concerns over Wednesday, February 20, 2019 hearing during which the State Prosecutor presented copies of identification cards of the defendants that sparked heated debates leading to a walkout by the defense lawyers.
The Defense is said to have submitted documents from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), corroborating the defendants are refugees and asylum seekers.
Barrister Nsoh expressed concerns saying the judge in his ruling inter alia stated; documents as to the Nationality of the defendants have been admitted, that four of the accused are refugees, six (6) have applied for refugees’ statuses, that the fact that the accused persons have refugees’ statuses does not give them any immunity and that the Yaoundé Military Court is competent to hear the matter.
Reports say the matter has now been appealed especially after the judge asked the Court Registrar to read the charges to the accused persons, insisting that the accused persons take their pleas. The leaders, we are told were instructed not to plea to any charge without their Lawyers, a possible reason why the matter is going to the Court of Appeal.
The accused persons; Sisiku Julius Ayuk Tabe and nine other Southern Cameroonian leaders abducted in Nigeria a year ago, were to show proof that they were refugees and asylum seekers in Nigeria, their lawyer said, adding that they must be returned to Nigeria now that the documents have been presented.
The leaders are facing terrorism-related charges. Sisiku Ayuk Tabe Julius and nine others were arrested in Nigeria and extradited to Cameroon under circumstances that have been considered illegal. Their Lawyers have now said they wouldn’t attend any more sessions at the military court after the next hearing.
An armed conflict is deepening in the two English-speaking regions with militias battling pro-regime soldiers as they aim to uphold a new country; Ambazonia. Ambazonia is an outlawed country in which the majority of its residents; the English-speaking regions are seeking to restore. The Biya administration has blamed the insurgency on Sisiku and others.