Julius AyukTabe says Appeals Court Verdict Further Makes the Case for Southern Cameroons Independence

The Yaounde Court of Appeals has upheld the verdict of the Military Court that sentenced Pro-Independence leader, Julius AyukTabe and nine others to life in prison.

The Appeals Court President, Mindjimba Mindjimba wasted no time in dismissing the appeal of the ten convicts in a judgment Thursday that has been described as “scandalous” by the defence team.

The judge rendered his decision without giving the defence lawyers to plead their case.

“It is a scandal of its kind since I started practising as a lawyer,” said Barrister Amungwa Tanyi, the Spokesperson for the Defense Team of the jailed pro-independence leaders’ lawyers.

“Our clients are appellants and they did appeal this matter because there was a travesty of justice at the Military Court in Yaounde, and our clients have never been given their day in court, the lawyers themselves have never been given their day in court,” Amungwa said.

He accused Mindjimba Mindjimba of speaking entirely in French-a language his clients say they do not understand, and without listening to the defence team and their clients, and in less than 20 minutes, proceeded to uphold the ruling of the military court.

“The judges behaved like project managers and not like judges in charge of delivering justice” said defence lawyer, Barrister Emmanuel Simh.

Categorizing the trial as “political,” Simh further noted that “the judges behaved like missionaries and not like ordinary judges in charge of justice in a serene manner.”

Pro-Independence Leader, Julius AyukTabe says the verdict is further proof that citizens of the Once Independent State of Southern Cameroons do not have a space for self-expression in a majority Cameroonian nation.

“Yesterday (September 17, 2020) the La République du Cameroun (LRC) Appeal Court Judge, without even opening our case, decided to uphold an unjust life-sentence judgment that was handed on us, abducted from Nigeria and cargoed to Cameroun (CRM) in Jan 2018,” Ayuk tweeted.

“Every day, they show us how different our systems and values are and the incompatibility of the two; one defined by democracy and the other by autocracy,” he continued.

“The only solution is to part ways from this uncompleted, deceitful and unholy partnership: Independence or Resistance forever,” he concluded.

The Pro-Independence leaders were arrested in Nigeria on January 5, 2018, and extradited to Cameroon where they were handed life sentences on charges of terrorism and rebellion against the state.

AyukTabe and Co have always denied these charges, explaining that they are fighting for the “restoration” of the Independence of the Once Independent State of Southern Cameroons.

About 80 per cent of Cameroon is French-speaking. However, the Once Independent State of Southern Cameroons is majority English-speaking.

In October 2016, strikes by lawyers and teachers over perceived attempts by the Francophone administration to assimilate the legal and educational systems practised in the Independence of the Once Independent State of Southern Cameroons turned violent, and morphed into rising demands by the people of the regions for independence.

The government responded with lethal force, and its military has been accused of razing entire village settlements, over 400 in number,  and extrajudicial killings in their hunt for pro-independence activists and armed groups, who are calling on the English-speaking areas to restore the independence of their country, and then rename it ‘Ambazonia.’

The fighting has left at least 12,000 people dead, over a million forced from their homes, and hundreds of thousands of others as refugees in neighbouring countries, according to multiple sources.