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c/o

Via Email, Facsimile, and U.S. Airmail July 29, 2013 His Excellency Paul Biya, Presidency of the Republic Yaounde, Cameroon Communication 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 constituents collectively numbering in the tens of thousands, we write to urge you to declare a moratorium on Opration 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 as Mr. Marafa Hamidou Yaya; and appoint an impartial, Blue-Ribbon Commission to conduct a thorough review of the administration of Opration Epervier that will make recommendations to you. Our U.S. President Barack Obama's administration acknowledges that Cameroons 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 its recently released, 2012 report on human rights practices in Cameroon: ... On September 21, the Mfoundi High Court delivered a guilty verdict in the trial of Marafa Hamidou 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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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 Cameroons human rights record, it was common knowledge that Opration Epervier had lost sight of its central objective, weighed down by its own internal contradictions. It is our understanding that the initiative was conceived and perceived to be a vehicle for recovering and, if need be, repatriating purloined state funds; the goal being to bring those responsible to justice after a fair, just, and transparent trial. Opration Epervier has, however, veered dangerously off course and apparently become an instrument for capturing and persecuting political opponents. Besides the case of Marafa Hamidou Yaya, the use of criminal trials to forestall political opposition and eliminate rival candidates for the presidency of your Republic receives steady media attention. Representatives of foreign governments, reported to have previously supported prosecution of government and other public officials for corruption in Cameroon, now are said to believe 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 Cameroons international reputation as a good 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 their President took the firm decision to allow the judiciary to play the role prescribed for it in the Constitution. A role, as we understand it, to serve as the guardian of republican values and not as an instrument for settling political scores. We promote good government in our own country and are therefore confident that it would be best for you to follow a righteous course. Please help ensure a fair outcome in Minister Marafas case, redressing his and other similar grievances in the best possible manner. Thank you for your consideration, anticipated cooperation, and corresponding best efforts. Respectfully,

MARAFA WATCH Rodney Logal, Coordinator http://marafa-watch.tumblr.com/

Drum Majors for Truth L. Kenneth Kendrick, Program Director http://www.dm4t.org

The Oregon-Cameroon Connection Elizabeth Armstrong, Managing Editor http://tocc.newsvine.com

National Forum On Judicial Accountability Timm Wheeler, CIO http://50states.ning.com

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The Plea For Justice Program George Stokes, Co-Administrator http://www.plea4justice.org

POPULAR Power Over Poverty Under Laws of America Restored Dr. Andrew D. Jackson, Co-Administrator http://www.popular4people.org

OAK Organizations Associating for the Kind of Change America Really Needs Attorney Zena Crenshaw-Logal, Co-Administrator http://www.oak4change.org

cc:

His Excellency Paul Biya, Presidency of the Republic c/o Ambassador Joseph Foe-Atangana Embassy of Cameroon 3400 International Drive, NW Washington, D.C. 20008 Prime Minister Philemon Yang Prime Ministers Office Yaounde, Cameroon Mr. Pierre Moukoko Mbonjo Ministry of External Relations Yaounde, Cameroon Ambassador Joseph Foe-Atangana Embassy of Cameroon 3400 International Drive, NW Washington, D.C. 20008 Ms. Bianca Menendez, Political and Economic Section Chief Embassy of the United States Avenue Rosa Parks - P.O. Box 817 Yaounde, Cameroon

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