Yaounde (National Times)-The United States Embassy in Yaounde and the Cameroon Bar Association have unveiled a plan to battle for the freedom of at least 400 persons behind bars across detention facilities in the country without case files.
The project launched on Monday April 29 is expected to last 12 months. The intention according to both institutions is to help free space Cameroon’s overcrowded prisons.
In the first six months, 200 prisoners are expected to leave the prison cells. The second part of the project to last the same period of time will also see some 200 persons benefit from the legal aide. It is expected to start at the Kondengui Central Prison before extending to other parts of the nation.
Barrister Christian Daniel Bissou in an interview with the French language daily newspaper ‘Le Jour’ on the same project stated that “we intend to free during the next six months 200 persons without files among the 400 censored. And thereafter, in a year we will free the 400,”
The programme is led by 15 lawyers chosen on the basis of impartiality, with main mission being to follow the necessary procedures to secure the release of the prisoners.
This comes at a time when prisons in Cameroon are experiencing severe overcrowding, especially as a result of the Anglophone Crisis and Boko Haram insurgency.
Reports by rights groups have revealed that some prisons have more than quadrupled their population without a corresponding increase in space. And unfortunately, a great portion of the prisoners are detained in murky circumstances.
Recently, a businessman was released from the Kondengui Central Prison after spending ten years behind bars without trial.