Human Right Watch has reacted to the news of the maltreatment of Barrister Shufai Blaise Berinyuy, a detained separatist leader, by calling upon the government of Cameroon to offer proper medical treatment to the “Ambazonian” separatist leader.
There have been reports of the maltreatment of the separatist leader in a military hospital in Yaoundé. These reports came after Barrister Shufai was visited by the defence team of Sisiku Ayuk Tabe & Co, represented by Barristers Amungwa and Pekum. “We have visited our colleague, brother, and client, Shufai at the Military Hospital in Yaoundé. He was rushed to the Military Hospital today May 16, 2020, after 10 excruciating days of malaria and typhoid diagnosed at the infirmary of the Kondengui Central Prison in Yaoundé. For 10 days, he was not responding to treatment until today morning when the situation became critical as his legs began to dangle before he was evacuated to the military hospital. He continues to complain of acute stomach ache. Upon arrival at the hospital this morning, clinical examinations were run on him. As of the time that we are leaving the hospital (May 16), the medical results are not yet out. He tells us that he can’t explain how he managed to arrive at the hospital. He is being administered a drip,” Barristers Amungwa and Pekum talking to Journal du Cameroon after leaving the hospital.
Regarless of Shufai’s deteriorating health situation, he was later discharged from the hospital and sent back to Kondengui maximum security prison where there have been reports of suspected COVID-19 cases.
Taking Shufai Blaise back to Kondengui despite the reports of COVID-19 cases has forced Human Right Watch to urge the government of Cameroon to ensure the safety of the detained “Ambazonia” leaders as he risks contracting the virus in jail.
According to illaria Allegrozzi, Senior Resaercher at Human Right Watch, transferring Shufai to Kondengui prison is a threat to his health and life “Transfering Shufai to a crowded prison setting where transmission of COVID-19 is more likely seriously enhance the threats in his health and life. Human Right Watch frowns at the maltreatment of Shufai”, Allegrozzi said.
On May 16 Allegrozzi continues, “one of the leaders of the separatist group ‘Ambazonia Interim Government’, was transferred from prison to the hospital for non-Covid-19 –related illness. His family and lawyers said he was unconscious, and his health had deteriorated significantly over the previous 10days. They reported on May 19, Shufai was handcuffed to his hospital bed for the night, despite being barely able to move. Shufai family members and lawyers said that the head of the prison visited Shufa twice at the military hospital and pressured medical staff to discharge him, irrespective of his deteriorating health condition. This is despite concerns over the spread of COVID-19 across Cameroon’s overcrowded prisons”.
It should be noted that Shufai Blaise Berinyuy is serving a life jail sentence alongside 13 other Ambazonia leaders.