UK-based human rights group, Amnesty International, has condemned the decision of a military court and the government in Cameroon to sentence an opposition leader by the name of Aboubakar Siddiki to 25 years in prison.
Siddiki was arrested in August 2014 along with lawyer Abdoulaye Harissou – and they have both been in detention since then after being accused of plotting to destabilize President Paul Biya’s government.
“He is the latest victim of the Cameroonian authorities’ strangling of opposition voices”, the Amnesty group said.
“No credible evidence was presented to the court to convict him.”
President Biya, 84, has been in power in Cameroon since 1982, and his critics accuse him of being an authoritarian.
Siddiki was the leader of Cameroon’s Patriotic Salvation Movement – a small opposition party in the country’s northernmost region.
He was convicted of trying to incite a revolution and hostility against the homeland and president.
“We are going to appeal this decision, which does not seem to us to be at all just,” Siddiki’s lawyer, Emmanuel Simh said.
Though Siddiki was sentenced to 25 years in prison, Mr. Harissou was sentenced to three years in prison for failing to disclose information that could harm national security.
There has been a strong military presence in Cameroon’s Far North region in recent years due to the Islamist group, Boko Haram, who have crossed over from the Nigerian border.
There has also been crackdowns on protests in the English speaking region in the western part of Cameroon, where the majority of the citizens in the area complain of marginalization and discrimination in the French-dominated country.