Ahmed Abba, a journalist for Radio France Internationale’s Hausa service, had his ten-year prison sentence reduced on Thursday by a Cameroonian military appeal court, a ruling which should result in his immediate release.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Mr. Abba was wrongly convicted of terrorism charges by a Cameroonian military court in April 2017 due to his reporting on the terrorist group Boko Haram. He had been held in detention since July 2015 before being charged in court.
Praising Thursday’s ruling, CPJ explained that the military court struck out a charge of laundering money to terrorists but upheld a charge of “non-denunciation of terrorism,” which carries a 24-month sentence.
Mr. Abba, however, has already served 29 months in prison and will likely be released from custody.
“We are delighted that Ahmed Abba will finally be free, having already spent 876 days in jail too many. Abba was a victim of a monumental travesty of justice and should never have been arrested or charged in the first place,” said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal. “He must now be free to pick up the pieces of his life and return to his journalism without further fear of reprisal.”
The 38-year-old Cameroonian journalist has been honored with the 2017 International Press Freedom Award by the CPJ.