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Court maintains 10 year sentence on students who shared Boko Haram joke

Journal du Cameroun | Cameroon’s appeal court has upheld a 10-year sentence against three students who shared a joke text about Boko Haram.

Fomusoh Ivo Feh
The three students; Fomusoh Ivo, Afuh Nivelle Nfor and Azah Levis Gob, had shared a text on the difficulty of finding a good job without being highly qualified, stating that even the armed group Boko Haram won’t recruit you without good exam results.

Specifically, Fomusoh Ivo in December 2014 reportedly 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 to reveal that even the armed group Boko Haram won’t recruit you without good performance from school. 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 Prison in Yaoundé on 14 January 2015 and kept with their legs chained at the ankles.

They were charged under the Cameroonian Penal Code on 3 March 2015 and found guilty of ‘non-denunciation of terrorism related information’ on 2 November 2016. The trio were convicted by a military court on 2 November 2016 and have been in jail since then.

According to Amnesty International, more than 300,000 letters and petitions from people around the world have been sent to Cameroonian President Paul Biya calling on him to release them.

Alioune Tine, Amnesty International’s West and Central Africa Director, said; “These students have done nothing more than share a private joke, but their conviction and sentence could see them spend a decade behind bars and destroy their future prospects.

They continue to languish in prison facing an unclear fate,” said “We join more than 310,000 people across the world in calling on the authorities in Cameroon to release these students, allow them to re-join their families, and realise their dream of continuing their studies and finding a job.”

It is reported that even celebrities such as Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, and Patrick Mboma, a former Cameroonian football striker and Fomusoh Ivo’s favourite footballer, sent letters to the authorities, solidarity messages in prison to Ivo and his two friends and tweeted about the case.

“Ivo and his friends should be released immediately and unconditionally. Convictions for trumped up charges such as these in the name of national security is no way to keep a country safe,” Alioune Tine said.

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21 comments

  1. The families, should hold the teacher responsible and decide his fate also. There is
    enough grass around our school compounds or something else, not ten years in jail.
    Has gov`t, closed down the once famous Boastal Institude in Buea?

  2. Another PROOF THAT THE SO-CALLED “ONE AND INDIVISIBLE LRC IS INDEED AN ISLAND OF EVIL

    These children have committed absolutely ZERO crime. However, they must spend 10( ten) years in a concentration camp.

    Beti embezzlers of public funds, such as Essimi Menye, Ambassa Zang, have stolen BILLIONS FCFA of taxpayers money. They have been allowed by Dictator Biya to escape to Europe and the US.

    Southern Cameroon should intensify the struggle to liberate themselves from this ISLAND OF EVIL or die trying.

    BIYA’S UNWINNABLE WAR CONTINUES….

  3. “Non-denunciation of terrorism-related information” earns 10 years in prison??????????
    Given the quantum of shared jokes among citizens of Cameroon both at home and abroad, this creates a large “at risk” category of human beings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • And when citizens perceive their country as a “mine field” that can explode and destroy them at any time, the temptation is irresistible to take to their heels and seek asylum everywhere else – Nigeria, Australia, France, UK, US, Ukraine, even North Korea.

  4. Dominique Weber

    It is getting clearer, this is just because these youths speaks English, if they were french speaking, they would have been released long ago to go and face their studies. Cameroun should let these youths face their studies, they are not terrorists and have committed no crime to face 10 years in cameroun prisons

  5. Anglophone apartheid in one and indivisible.
    Children make mistakes and we can’t correct them we destroy their lives.
    Adults bankrupt the nation, one of them even uses money from retirement funds to take his friends to go watch a Real Madrid vs Barca match and we reward him and all his kind with more opportunities to continue to rape the nation
    When people say shithole we wonder why such a description.
    Men in their 90’s are so bent on destroying the lives of the younger generation.
    Who will protect these children from the fangs of the CPDM sharks?
    Has any military officer been sentenced for the abuse and rape of the university of Buea students?
    Ethnofascist Griots! You shall find no peace through the war declared on our children. Basta!

  6. Banana republic .. backward justice ..keep fueling miscontedment among the masses.. you will reap what you are sowing

  7. Not long ago, a General’s son in yaounde lycée Etougebe was caught selling drugs and supplying guns to criminals yet nothing, I mean absolutely nothing was done to him. This is the lawlessness these people uphold. Vindictive justice.

  8. School Deciplinary counsils are Holding in Courts Now? When did School Decipline become an affaire of the courts?

  9. C’est vraiment grave avec la justice de ce pays. Bousiller la vie de ces jeunes pour des sms c est terrible,

  10. Very unfair verdict.

  11. These guys did nothing Chiiiiii Biya wicket his generation will never see good

  12. These guys did nothing Chiiiiii Biya wicket his generation will never see good .

  13. It is good to notice that for once Cameroonians are of one accord about something – injustice. Thank Heavens!

  14. Ambazonians, just need a very strong fight with our eyes closed and the biblical
    fear of `thou shall not kill` kept behind our backs. Only then, shall we have peace
    and our statehood to forge our own destiny. It is not to say we shall not have
    problems, but that will be a matter for that time.
    As i write now, the US and her allies, are pounding Damascus because of the latters`
    gruelty. Ambazonians, should be very prepared for a similar situation, now that biya
    declared it. Fear, is not a solution to any problems. Enough is enough from biya / co.
    It is unfortunate for us, that Britain has refused us at the 11th hour, but it is no
    excuse at this point. France is active supporting the ouster of Asad, but refuses to
    even condemn, what biya is doing to the Anglos. But the day will come.

  15. They shall be released through a presidential decree. That’s the system in cameroon because the courts are puppets and not independent.

  16. They should show remorse and regrets, then ask for forgiveness. This is what happens when young men are misled and fed with lies such as NGOs will free you don’t respect the court and the judicial system of your country . All this could have been avoided if the had said we are sorry and we didn’t mean no harm . They wanted to act tough thinking some foreigners will liberate them . Or maybe this is their path to asylum who knows , so called westerners love this type of story . Yet they are jailing people for purchasing simple one way flight ticket to Syria or turkey . Kids beg for forgiveness and maybe the judge /court will have leniency . Till then enjoy your 10years . You are in position of force as you clearly did more than joke about Boko Haram

    • You have to beg for forgiveness because a thug made away with the county’s money and you asked everyone to shut up about it. You’ve strangely become an embodiment of honesty! I expect you to talk about the international warrant of arrest issued against Essimi Menye, but you some how have selective memory of issues! How many years would you sentence him to prison term?

  17. This is the peak of madness…am speechless to say the least

  18. A sad day, but a reminder to all the youth to leave. Preferably for France since they continue to support the dictatorship.
    They must all cross the desert and head for france