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RFI Hausa correspondent looks set to be freed

RFI Hausa correspondent Ahmed Abba

RFI’s Hausa correspondent Ahmed Abba looks set to be freed after the successful appeal of his ten year prison sentence.

On appeal, his sentence was reduced to 24 months in prison for what the authorities said was a failure to identify what they claimed were terrorists.

The Yaoundé military court acquitted him this morning of laundering the proceeds of a terrorist act, but upheld the sentence for ‘non-denunciation’ of terrorists, albeit for a lesser amount of time.

Abba has already spent 29 months behind bars. With his sentence reduced to 24 months he should be freed soon.

Abba was arrested in July 2015 in Maroua in the far north of Cameroon, where he was reporting on Boko Haram.

On foot of his first trial, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for non-denunciation and laundering of the proceeds of a terrorist act. At that stage, the judges acquitted him of the accusation of being an apologist for terrorism.

Following his arrest, it was four months before he saw a lawyer and it was not until February 2016 the initial trial opened.

Radio France Internationale and its lawyers have consistently opposed his arrest and insisted that Abba is innocent.

He was supported in his fight by many journalists, Cameroonians, foreigners and human rights organizations.

Many people turned up at the court over the months including Yves Rocle, Africa director of RFI, and Cécile Mégie, RFI’s Director General, who supported Abba throughout the entire affair.