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Case History: Jean Marc Bikoko

Status: 
Arrested & Released
About the situation

On 15 September 2015 security forces in Yaoundé arrested human rights defender Mr Jean Marc Bikoko and a number of his colleagues at a workshop organised to mark the International Day of Democracy.

About Jean Marc Bikoko

Jean Marc BikokoJean Marc Bikoko is the executive president of the Centrale Syndicale du Secteur Public - CSP (Central Trade Union of the Public Sector). For several years he has worked to defend human rights and represent the social interests of public sector workers in Cameroon.

He is also a focal point at national level for Dynamique Citoyenne (Dynamic Citizen), a network of Cameroonian civil society organisations which is made up of more than 150 other groups, including religious congregations, trade unions, associations and non-governmental organisations that conduct independent monitoring of public policies and cooperation and advocacy strategies.

18 September 2015
Arrest of human rights defender Jean Marc Bikoko and his colleagues

On 15 September 2015 security forces in Yaoundé arrested human rights defender Mr Jean Marc Bikoko and a number of his colleagues at a workshop organised to mark the International Day of Democracy.

He is also a focal point at national level for Dynamique Citoyenne (Dynamic Citizen), a network of Cameroonian civil society organisations which is made up of more than 150 other groups, including religious congregations, trade unions, associations and non-governmental organisations that conduct independent monitoring of public policies and cooperation and advocacy strategies.

On 15 September 2015, Jean Marc Bikoko and his colleagues attended an event organised by Dynamique Citoyenne, where they were invited to discuss the topic "Electoral governance and democratic change". The talk took place at the Sports Arena of Yaoundé, in the south of the country.

The event was a prelude to the opening of the ordinary session of the national coordination of Dynamique Citoyenne, which was scheduled for 16 and 17 September 2015.

Shortly after the workshop began, a group of policemen arrived and ordered the suspension of the event. The police said the workshop could not be held because it had not been authorized by the divisional office, even if the law only requires such prior notices for demonstrations.

Another group of policemen arrived a few hours later and reiterated the order to suspend the workshop. At around midday, the sub-prefect of Yaoundé arrived with the same request, accompanied by the Regional Delegate of the National Security (Sureté Nationale) and several police officers in uniform.

On each occasion, Jean Marc Bikoko referred to the legal provisions concerning public meetings and demonstrations in Cameroon. When he asked the authorities to present a formal document prohibiting the workshop, the police ignored his request and ordered to clear the room, forcing the participants all out of the building.

They then arrested Jean Marc Bikoko together with Ms Agnès Adelaide Metougou, head of communication of Dynamic Citizen, Ms Ndjalla Epangue Yves, the national leader of Dynamic Citizen, Ms Jessie Bikoko, national animator of Dynamic Citizen, and Jean Marc Bikoko's son, Mr Lejuste Bikoko, who was attending the event. A journalist who was covering the workshop was also detained. Furthermore, security forces confiscated the media equipment belonging to journalists, including their cameras.

After their arrest, Jean Marie Bikoko and his colleagues were taken to the Central Police Station No. 1 where they spent the night. The following day they were transferred to the police academy in the Tsinga neighbourhood of Yaoundé, where they remain in detention.

On the morning of 16 September 2015, the police once again targeted Dynamic Citizen as they arrested three other members of the network: Mr Jean Baptiste Sipa , coordinator of the organisation Article 55 , Mr. Leon Ngaba, the permanent secretary of Dynamic Citizen and Pastor Vincent Pong, a member of CRADIF Mbalmayo . They were held in the Nkolndongo police station and released later the same day, at around 9pm.

On 16 September 2015, those who remained in detention were informed that they will be held in administrative detention for 15 days. Local sources reported the arrest may be based on terrorism charges, as 15 days administrative detention is part of the procedure under the anti-terrorism law.