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Coalition Letter to Biya

Coalition Letter to Biya

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A coalition of U.S.-based NGOs, "with individual members and constituents collectively numbering in the tens of thousands" recently mailed this letter from Chicago, Illinois, in support of Minister Marafa Hamidou Yaya.
A coalition of U.S.-based NGOs, "with individual members and constituents collectively numbering in the tens of thousands" recently mailed this letter from Chicago, Illinois, in support of Minister Marafa Hamidou Yaya.

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Published by: Zena Denise Crenshaw on Jul 30, 2013
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12/17/2013

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Via Email, Facsimile, and U.S. Airmail
July 29, 2013His Excellency Paul Biya,Presidency of the RepublicYaounde, CameroonCommunication Unit 
RE:
 Justice for Marafa Hamidou Yaya and all Prisoners of Conscience in the Republic of Cameroon
Dear President Biya:As U.S.-based NGOs and NGO representatives with individual members and constituentscollectively numbering in the tens of thousands, we write to urge you to declare a moratorium on
“Opération Epervier”; suspend further arrests of public officials suspected of embezzling public
funds; release those currently in detention as well as those whose convictions are suspect such asMr. Marafa Hamidou Yaya; and appoint an impartial, Blue-Ribbon Commission to conduct a
thorough review of the administration of “Opération Epervier” that will make recommendations
to you.Our U.S. President Barack Obama's administration acknowl
edges that Cameroon’s “constitution
and law provide for an independent judiciary, but the judiciary remained corrupt, inefficient, and
subject to political influence” as of 2012.
The U.S. State Department reports as follows in itsrecently released, 2012 report on human rights practices in Cameroon:. . .
On September 21, the Mfoundi High Court delivered a guilty verdict in the trial of MarafaHamidou Yaya, former secretary general of the presidency and former minister of state for territorial administration and decentralization, on embezzlement charges stemming from the
 
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MARAFA WATCH
Rodney Logal, Coordinator http://marafa-watch.tumblr.com/ 
The Oregon-Cameroon Connection
Elizabeth Armstrong, Managing Editor http://tocc.newsvine.com 
 
Drum Majors for Truth
L. Kenneth Kendrick,Program Director http://www.dm4t.org 
National Forum On Judicial Accountability
Timm Wheeler, CIOhttp://50states.ning.com 
 purchase of a presidential plane in 2001. The presiding judge read a 1,156-page judgment that contained mostly allegations and insinuations, but little evidence, and sentenced Marafa to 25 
 years’ imprisonment. Observers noted that many aspects of the case pointed to executive
interference.
. . .Minister Yaya was accordingly identified by the Obama Administration as a political prisoner.Mr. President, even before the U.S. released its latest stinging report on Cameroon
’s human rights
record, it was
common knowledge that “Opération Epervier” ha
d lost sight of its central objective,weighed down by its own internal contradictions. It is our understanding that the initiative wasconceived and perceived to be a vehicle for recovering and, if need be, repatriating purloined statefunds; the goal being to bring those responsible to justice after a fair, just, and transparent trial.
“Opération Epervier” has, however, veered dangerously off course and
apparently become aninstrument for capturing and persecuting political opponents.Besides the case of Marafa Hamidou Yaya, the use of criminal trials to forestall political oppositionand eliminate rival candidates for the presidency of your Republic receives steady mediaattention. Representatives of foreign governments, reported to have previously supportedprosecution of government and other public officials for corruption in Cameroon, now are said tobelieve these trials were largely used to settle political scores and less to fight corruption. Word of 
these cases and how they were misused does not help Cameroon’s international reputation as
agood place to make an investment or do business.We believe it would be in the long term interest of the Cameroonian people if you as theirPresident took the firm decision to allow the judiciary to play the role prescribed for it in theConstitution. A role, as we understand it, to serve as the guardian of republican values and not asan instrument for settling political scores. We promote good government in our own country andare therefore confident that it would be best for you to follow a righteous course. Please helpensure a fair outcome in Minister
Marafa’s case
, redressing his and other similar grievances in thebest possible manner.Thank you for your consideration, anticipated cooperation, and corresponding best efforts.Respectfully,

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