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Cameroon’s Gov’t in Court for Placing Opposition Leader under “House Arrest”

The Cameroonian government has been taken to court, to answer why security forces continue restricting the freedom of the country’s leading opposition figure.

For close to one month now, security agents have surrounded the residence of Professor Maurice Kamto in the capital, Yaounde. The leader of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM) party and his supporters believe he is under house arrest.

State forces barred Mr. Kamto and his family from leaving their compound. For this reason, Kamto’s lawyers filed a complaint in court, against key state officials whom they accused of being behind their client’s situation.

According to the group of lawyers, the case will be heard on Thursday October 15th, at the Yaounde Court of First Instance. 

Why is Maurice Kamto under “house arrest”?

The CRM party of Professor Maurice Kamto opposed President Paul Biya’s decision to schedule regional elections in December.

The party warned against holding elections without resolving the Anglophone crisis in the country’s two English speaking regions. It also urged government to reform the electoral laws — which it said were faulty — before any elections could take place.

Together with some other opposition parties and civil society leaders, the CRM promised to organize peaceful protests. The aim was to demand President Paul Biya to step down, if the government did contrary to their proposal.

So, government banned the opposition’s protest scheduled for September 22, calling it illegal and “insurrectional.” It promised to crackdown on anyone who would defy the ban.

On the eve of the planned protest, security forces surrounded the premises of the CRM leader, barring him from leaving his home. Since then, he says he has not left his compound.

Any hopes for Mr. Kamto after the court hearing?

Party members and supporters of Mr. Kamto see the restriction on his freedom as against the law. Thursday’s hearing might give them a chance to hope.

However, it is not clear whether or not the court will rule in their favor. One thing is clear, though: Mr. Kamto cannot wait to live as a free man again.

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