From Human Right Watch
Cameroonian authorities held over 100 detainees incommunicado and tortured many of them in a detention facility in Yaoundé, Cameroon’s capital, from July 23 to August 4, 2019.
The detainees were transferred to the facility, the State Defense Secretariat (Secrétariat d’État à la défense, SED), the morning after inmates in Yaoundé’s Central Prison rioted on July 22 in protest at overcrowding, dire living conditions, and delays in their cases getting to trial. Many were in detention on suspicion of being involved with or supporting armed separatist groups operating in English-speaking regions of Cameroon. Since late 2016, a cycle of civil protests there, followed by government repression, has escalated to hostilities between government forces and armed separatist groups, resulting in over 2,000 deaths. Others included members and supporters of the opposition party Cameroon Renaissance Movement (Mouvement pour la renaissance du Cameroun, MRC).
“These credible accounts of torture and abuse out of the State Defense Secretariat are sadly not the first, but only the most recent,” said Lewis Mudge, Central Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The security forces’ apparent belief that they are free to torture and otherwise abuse detainees is a direct consequence of the Cameroonian government turning a blind eye to reports about the abuse – but the world is watching.”
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