Friday, 16 March 2018

Appeal Court upholds 10 years Imprisonment sentence for Ivo Fomusoh and his two friends for exchanging Boko Haram pleasantries through SMS

The Appeal court in Cameroon has upheld the 10 years prison sentence for the three students; Fomusoh Ivo Feh, Afuh Nivelle Nfor and Azah Levis Gob  for exchanging Boko Haram pleasantries through SMS.

In December 2014, Fomusoh Ivo received a text message from a friend, saying: “Boko Haram recruits young people from 14 years old and above. Conditions for recruitment: 4 subjects at GCE, including religion”.
His friend’s message was intended as a comment on the difficulty of finding a good job without being highly qualified – joking that even the armed group Boko Haram won’t recruit you without good exam results.
Ivo forwarded the message to Afuh Nivelle Nfor, who sent it to Azah Levis Gob. One of their teachers saw the text, having confiscated the phone, and showed it to the police. 
Ivo and his friends were all arrested. They were transferred to the Yaounde Kondengui Central Prison  on 14 January 2015 and kept with their legs chained at the ankles.

The three were charged under the Cameroonian Penal Code and Cameroonian Military Code on 3 March 2015. They were found guilty of ‘non-denunciation of terrorism acts” by the Yaounde military court on 2 November 2016.
Their lawyers appealed the decision, as human rights organizations jumped  into the matter calling on the Cameroon government to release the boys.
"These three students should never have been arrested in the first instance as they have only exercised their right to freedom of expression,” said Ngo Mbe Maximilienne, Executive Director of REDHAC.
The appeal opened on September 21st, 2017, and despite all attempts by lawyers to prove the three students had nothing to do with Boko Haram the SMS they shared was just for fun, their voices fell in deaf ears, and yesterday Thursday March 15, 2018, the Appeal Court upheld the previous 10 years sentence, dashing all hopes for the boys to be released.

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