Annual Report: Cameroon 2011

May 28, 2011

Annual Report: Cameroon 2011

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  • Fabien Mballa and Aboma Nkoa Emile were arrested on 24 March by gendarmes in Camp Yeyap, Yaoundé. They were sentenced by the criminal court of Yaoundé to five months' imprisonment and fines, and were held in Kondengui prison.
  • Roger Bruno Efaaba Efaaba and Marc Henri Bata, who were arrested in September on suspicion of theft, but then accused of same-sex activities, were subjected to forced anal medical examinations in October, a form of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. They remained in custody at the end of the year.

Prison conditions

Prisons and other detention centres were overcrowded and conditions were often life-threatening. Medical care and food were often not provided or were inadequate. Disturbances and escape attempts were frequent, and several prisoners were killed during escape attempts. Prison guards were poorly trained, ill-equipped and their numbers inadequate for a large prison population.

Kondengui prison, which was built for 700 inmates, was holding 3,852 in August. Food, water and medical supplies were all in short supply. In one wing, known as Kosovo, there was not enough room for prisoners to sleep lying down. Another wing held mentally ill detainees who did not receive any psychiatric care.

Douala (New Bell) prison, with an official capacity of 700, held more than 2,453 inmates in August. Many of its inmates were in pre-trial detention and were held together with convicted prisoners. Some prisoners were held in leg irons.

Prisoners were reported to have died in Maroua prison because of the scorching heat, and in Ngaoundere prison as a result of cholera.


Government officials confirmed that no action had been taken against members of the security forces accused of human rights violations in 2008, when as many as 100 people were killed during protests against price rises and against a constitutional amendment that removed limits on presidential terms of office.

Death penalty

At least 77 prisoners were on death row, although no executions have been reported since 1997. There were concerns that a presidential decree issued in May to commute some death sentences to life imprisonment had not yet been fully implemented. Prisoners on death row were not informed why their sentences were not commuted.