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Acharnement judiciaire contre Musa Usman Ndamba

Statut: 
Acharnement judiciaire
À propos de la situation

Le 18 décembre 2017, le procès du défenseur des droits humains Musa Usman Ndamba a été ajourné pour la 55e fois depuis la première audience le 11 mai 2013.

À propos de Musa Usman Ndamba

Musa Usman NdambaMusa Usman Ndamba est premier Vice Président National de l’Association pour le Développement Socio-Culturel de Mbororo (MBOSCUDA), une organisation qui défend les droits du peuple indigène Mbororo au Cameroun.  Le défenseur dénonce la corruption autour de l’acquisition de propriétés par des particuliers auprès du gouvernement, tout en surveillant  les violations des droits du peuple autochtone Mbororo sur leurs terres.

22 Décembre 2017
Le procès du défenseur des droits humains Musa Usman Ndamba ajourné pour la 55e fois

Le 18 décembre 2017, le procès du défenseur des droits humains Musa Usman Ndamba a été ajourné pour la 55e fois depuis la première audience le 11 mai 2013.

Musa Usman Ndamba est le 1er vice-président national de Mbororo Social and Cultural Development Association - MBOSCUDA (Association pour le développement social et culturel Mbororo), une organisation qui plaide pour les droits du peuple autochtone Mbororo au Cameroun. Il œuvre pour dénoncer la corruption lors d'accords pour l'acquisition de terres entre le gouvernement et les propriétaires terriens, tout en surveillant les violations du droit à la terre des populations autochtones.

Depuis mai 2013, Musa Usman Ndamba a comparu 55 fois devant le tribunal de première instance de Bamenda pour des accusations infondées de désinformation. L'affaire a été déclenchée par une plainte déposée par un riche propriétaire terrien, Baba Ahmadou Dampullo, dont les hommes de main sont suspectés d'avoir menacé le défenseur des droits humains et ses collègues à plusieurs occasions. En mai 2013, le défenseur a reçu plusieurs appels anonymes lors desquels il a été menacé d'être arrêté.

Début mai 2013, MBOSCUDA a soumis un rapport au Conseil des Droits de l'Homme de l'ONU à l'occasion de l'Examen périodique universel du Cameroun, qui détaillait les menaces auxquelles les membres de leur communauté, en particulier les personnes membres de MBOSCUDA, doivent faire face. Après la présentation de ce rapport, les actes de harcèlement contre MBOSCUDA se sont intensifiées.

Les procédures judiciaires contre Musa Usman Ndamba sont généralement écourtées et ajournées en raison de l'absence au tribunal du propriétaire terrien et de ses témoins. En mai 2014, les accusations contre le défenseur ont été rejetées par manque d'assiduité de l'accusation. Cependant, le 29 juillet 2016, les accusations pour "diffusion de fausses informations, violation de serment, faux rapport et diffamation" ont été portées contre lui, mais elles étaient basées sur la même déclaration et les mêmes preuves que l'affaire de 2013.

Les avocats de Musa Usman Ndamba ont constaté plusieurs vices de procédures lors du procès. Le défenseur n'a jamais reçu de citation à comparaitre officielle. Les procédures sont basées sur une déclaration sous serment contenant les propos diffamatoires présumés. Cependant, la déclaration sous serment n'est pas signée par Musa Usman Ndamba, mais par une autre personne nommée Musa Adamu. Le policier qui enquête sur cette affaire affirme que Musa Usman Ndamba est l'autre de ces propos et qu'il a intentionnellement changé son nom pour échapper aux poursuites. Cependant, l'accusation n'a présenté aucune preuve de changement de nom. En outre, le défenseur a prouvé qu'il n'avait pas changé son nom; son ancienne carte d'identité, qui a expiré le 20 juillet 2000, comporte le même nom et les mêmes informations que son actuelle carte d'identité.

Front Line Defenders pense que l'acharnement judiciaire contre Musa Usman Ndamba a un lien direct avec son travail en faveur des droits du peuple Mbororo au Cameroun, et considère que cela fait partie d'une plus vaste campagne d'acharnement judiciaire à son encontre.
 

19 Août 2016
Acharnement judiciaire contre le défenseur des droits humains Musa Usman Ndamba

Le défenseur des droits humains M. Musa Usman Ndamba fait l'objet de poursuites judiciaires pour plusieurs charges, notamment pour diffamation. La deuxième audience de sn prcès aura lieu le 26 août 2016.  Le défenseur des droits humains est régulièrement la cible d'acharnement judiciaire.

Le 26 août 2016, Musa Usman Ndamba comparaitra pour sa deuxième audience dans le cadre d'une procédure judiciaire à son encontre, et motivée par une plainte déposée par le propriétaire M. Alhadji Baba Ahmadou Danpullo. Le défenseur des droits humains  est accusé de propager de "fausses informations, de faux serment, de faux rapports" ainsi que de "diffamation de personne”. La première audience a eu lieu le 29 juillet 2016 au tribunal de première instance de Bamenda,  et a été reportée au 26 août 2016. Cette procédure judiciaire repose sur le même témoignage sous serment et sur les mêmes preuves déjà utilisées dans un procès contre lui en 2014. En 2014, le procès avait été rejeté par manque d'assiduité de l'accusation.

Les avocats de Musa Usman Ndamba ont constaté des vices de procédure à son encontre. Premièrement, Musa Usman Ndamba n’a pas été convoqué au tribunal officiellement. Deuxièmement, et plus important, le procès a été initié sur la base d'un témoignage sous serment qui contient les déclarations supposément diffamatoires. Cependant, le témoignage sous serment n’a pas été signé par Musa Usman Ndamba, mais par un autre individu nommé Musa Adamu. Le policier qui a enquêté sur l'affaire maintient que Musa Usman Ndamba est l’auteur de ces déclarations, et qu’il a intentionnellement changé son nom dans le registre civil afin d’échapper aux poursuites judiciaires. Cependant, aucune preuve n'a été fournie pour démontrer que le nom a été changé.  De plus, le défenseur des droits humains a fourni la preuve qu’il n’a pas changé son nom, ayant produit devant la Cour une carte d’identité qui a expiré le 20 juillet 2000 et qui porte le même nom avec la même information que sa carte d’identité actuelle.

Front Line Defenders pense que l'acharnement judiciaire contre Musa Usman Ndamba a un lien direct avec son travail de défense des droits du peuple Mbororo au Cameroun et considère qu'il s'agit d'une tendance à son encontre.

Front Line Defenders demande instamment aux autorités du Cameroun de:

1. Rejeter les poursuites judiciaires contre Musa Usman Ndamba, qui non seulement sont infondées, mais qui sont basés sur la même preuve utilisée dans un procès en 2014 et rejetée pas le tribunal;

2. Garantir qu’en toutes circonstances, tous les défenseur-ses des droits humains au Cameroun puissent mener à bien leurs activités sans craindre ni restrictions ni représailles

10 Septembre 2014
Defamation charges brought against human rights defender Mr Musa Usman Ndamba

On 10 September 2014, human rights defender Mr Musa Usman Ndamba was scheduled to appear before a judge at the Court of First Instance of Bamenda on charges of defamation. However, no summons had been served to him. His lawyer, who fortuitously found out that Musa Usman Ndamba was among the defendants expected in court that day, requested a new date and the hearing was postponed until 8 October 2014.

Musa Usman Ndamba is the Vice-president of Mbororo Social and Cultural Development Association (MBOSCUDA), a social organisation that has championed the rights (particularly the land rights) of Mbororo pastoralists in north-western Cameroon since the 1990s.

On 10 September 2014, Musa Usman Ndamba's lawyer was at the Court of First Instance of Bamenda to attend to other matters when he noticed the human rights defender's name on the list for that day's hearings. He quickly intervened to stop the case from proceeding as he knew that Musa Usman Ndamba had not been served with any summons to appear before the judge on that day.

Reportedly, the charges of defamation currently against Musa Usman Ndamba are the same as those previously brought in a lawsuit against him, but were dismissed in May 2014 for lack of a diligent prosecution. The defamation lawsuit had been brought against the human rights defender by a land owner and were dismissed after more than twenty court appearances, none of which was attended by the complainant.

It remains unclear how the same case that was already dismissed came to be reinstated in the same court barely four months later. It is also unclear why the court had scheduled Musa Usman Ndamba's hearing before he had been served with a summons.

28 Mars 2014
Ongoing judicial and other harassment against defenders of Mbororo rights

On 28 March 2014, human rights defender Mr Musa Usman Ndamba, a defender of the rights of the Mbororo community, appeared before the Bamenda Court of First Instance, and the trial was once again adjourned to the 23rd of May 2014.

Meanwhile, two other defenders of the rights of the Mbororo, Messrs Abdulkarim Shehu and Mallam Yunusa are in detention whilst an arrest warrant has been issued for human rights defender Mr Fon Christopher Achobang.

Musa Usman Ndamba is the Vice-President of Mbororo Social and Cultural Development Association (MBOSCUDA). Abdulkarim Shehu is a male nurse and social development worker, as well as founder and co-ordinator of the Angel of Hope Foundation, a health centre that caters for people with disabilities. Mallam Yunusa is an organiser of the Mbororo community of Banjah. Fon Christopher Achobang is a land rights campaigner and journalist sympathetic to the plight of the Mbororo. Members of the community and their defenders have long been facing severe judicial and other harassment owing to disputes over their land.

The trial of 28 March 2014 was the eighth such hearing in an ongoing trial against Musa Usman Ndamba led by a local wealthy landowner, Baba Ahmadou Danpullo, who has never attended any of the hearings.

On 21 March 2014, Abdulkarim Shehu was refused bail after appearing before the State Counsel following his arrest on 20 March 2014 by the Judicial Police in Bamenda, Mezam Division. Two warrants for his arrest and for the arrest of Fon Christopher Achobang had been signed by the State Counsel of Bamenda, Mezam Division. Two separate blank arrest warrants were issued at the same time as the warrants for the arrests of Abdulkarim Shehu and Fon Christopher Achobang, which sources fear may be used to arrest members of the Mbororo community arbitrarily. Mallam Yunusa was arrested on 19 March 2014. Authorities have stated that neither Abdulkarim Shehu nor Mallam Yunusa will be released until Fon Christopher Achobang has been arrested.

On 19 March 2014, authorities of the Catholic Church, led by a representative of the Archbishop of the Bamenda Archdiocese, directed a group of hired militias with a bulldozer to demolish the homes of the Mbororo in the Ndzah village (also known as Banjah or Mamada Hills). The community mobilised and stopped the demolition from taking place. However, during the stand-off the representative of the Archbishop and Fon Christopher Achobang were injured. After the incident, at which he was not present, Abdulkarim Shehu reportedly took members of the police to the site to show them what had happened. Fon Christopher Achobang was forced to go into hiding after threats on his life following the incident.

According to lawyers for the Mbororo Banjah community, the invasion took place in spite of a court case pending in the Bamenda Administrative Court with a Stay of Execution of the Order on the now disputed land, as a contested eviction notice had been issued the week before. Additionally, despite having been alerted to the impending invasion, government officials did nothing to stop it from going ahead, in complete violation of the law and the legal rights of the Mbororo community.

Front Line Defenders issued a previous urgent appeal regarding the ongoing judicial harassment against MBOSCUDA and Musa Usman Ndamba on 14 May 2013. The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders also sent a communication to the Cameroonian government regarding the same.

Front Line Defenders condemns the ongoing and severe judicial harassment against the above-named human rights defenders as it is directly related to their support of the embattled Mbororo communities of Cameroon.

27 Août 2013
Human rights defender Mr Musa Usman Ndamba threatened with arrest

On 27 August 2013, human rights defender Mr Musa Usman Ndamba formally requested Bamenda Judicial Police to start an investigation into telephone calls he had received a day before, one of which reportedly threatened him with arrest.

Musa Usman Ndamba is the vice-president of Mbororo Social and Cultural Development Organisation (MBOSCUDA), a social organisation which has championed the rights, including land rights, of Mbororo pastoralists in north-western Cameroon since the 1990s.

In a formal complaint sent to the Bamenda Judicial Police, Musa Usman Ndamba explained that on the evening of 26 August 2013, two unidentified men called him by telephone purporting to introduce to him a solar power business deal. The first caller claimed to call from the Philippines, using a number with a prefix indicating an international network such as Skype. He claimed to have a father-in-law by the name of Papa George and urged Musa Usman Ndamba to call him to discuss the possibility of installing solar energy at his home. The caller followed up with a text message that indicated a telephone number used by the so-called Papa George. Musa Usman Ndamba became suspicious as he does not have any business related to solar energy, and thus abstained from calling the number.

Shortly after, a second caller using the number suggested by the first one telephoned the human rights defender and introduced himself as Papa George. He maintained that he wanted to discuss the solar energy business deal as presented previously by his “son in law.” When Musa Usman Ndamba pressed him with questions, this caller became angry and started accusing the human rights defender of putting up a fake website through which he fraudulently claimed to supply solar energy products. Based on these accusations, the caller went on to threaten Musa Usman Ndamba that he will ensure that he gets arrested.

It should be noted that Musa Usman Ndamba's telephone number is not publicly available; additionally, both callers repeatedly addressed the human rights defender by his full name.

Since May 2013, Musa Usman Ndamba has been appearing before the Court of First Instance of Bamenda over unsubstantiated allegations of misinformation, a situation on which Front Line Defenders issued an urgent appeal on 14 May 2013. The case was triggered by a complaint filed by a local wealthy landowner, Mr Baba Ahmadou Dampullo, whose agents have reportedly threatened the human rights defender and his colleagues on a number of occasions.

On 19 August, the Court convened for the third time to hear the case, but the proceedings were cut short, like the two previous ones, by the absence in court of the landowner and his witnesses. As a result of this third-time absence, the Court has reportedly issued a bench warrant to compel the landowner and his witnesses to appear before the judge. The next hearing is scheduled for 4 October 2013.

Front Line Defenders takes this threat of arrest levelled against Musa Usman seriously and is concerned that the threat may be connected to his peaceful and legitimate work in defence of human rights, particularly the land rights of the Mbororo pastoralists, as part of the continued campaign of intimidation against MBOSCUDA leaders. Front Line Defenders urges that a thorough investigation be set up into the matter.

10 Mai 2013
Judicial harassment against human rights defender Mr Musa Usman Ndamba and other members of MBOSCUDA

On 10 May 2013, human rights defender Mr Musa Usman Ndamba appeared before the Court of First Instance in Bamenda, on charges related to unsubstantiated allegations of misinformation.

As the court hearing began, the human rights defender was read four charges listed on a formal summons which was drafted in mid-April but served to him just one day before the hearing. Specifically, the prosecutor alleged that Musa Usman Ndamba had propagated false information capable of damaging the reputation of public authorities, and had made false declarations in a court of law whilst being under oath.

It was also alleged that the human rights defender had made false allegations against Baba Ahmadou Dampullo, and had as a result injured his reputation. Musa Usman Ndamba, who was accompanied by his counsel, denied all the allegations and pleaded not guilty to all four counts. His counsel eventually secured his bail before the hearing was adjourned to 27 May 2013.

MBOSCUDA also reports that at least five members of its staff have been forced to go into hiding after appearing as witnesses in an investigation into the attempted murder of Mr Jeidoh Duni, a Mbororo activist and also a MBOSCUDA paralegal. In an apparent act of retaliation against their testimony, false charges related to the “possession of fire arms” have been levelled against them and arrest warrants issued against them by the military tribunal of Bafoussam. In Cameroon, any crime that involves fire-arms comes under the jurisdiction of the military tribunal.

MBOSCUDA has maintained that those who shot and injured Jeidoh Duni were hired killers and has demanded full justice in this case. Of the five suspects who were arrested after the incident, three confessed to the crime and one even went so far as mentioning landowner Baba Ahmadou Dampullo as being behind the attack. However, all the suspects were released soon after they were handed over to the Gendarme authorities of the North-West Legion.

MBOSCUDA has recently drafted a Universal Periodic Review submission to the UN in which they detail the sorts of threats that members of their community, and particularly those active within MBOSCUDA, face. The claims articulated within this submission are believed to have contributed to the worsening harassment of MBOSCUDA leaders. Musa Usman Ndamba's case is far from being an isolated incident of judicial harassment of Mbororo leaders; other Mbororo leaders presently undergoing judicial harassment as a result of their activism include Mr Lamido Roufai Dahirou, a prominent MBOSCUDA member and community leader, as well as Messrs Sule Buba Dicko and Uselni Adamu, both of whom are leaders of the Mbororo Aku organisation ACUDA.

Front Line Defenders is concerned that the unsubstantiated allegations being brought against Musa Usman Ndamba are in retaliation for his peaceful and legitimate work in defence of human rights, particularly land rights of the Mbororo pastoralists. Front Line Defenders also believes that the ongoing campaign of intimidation against MBOSCUDA leaders is related to their collaboration with international organisations and to their participation in the aforementioned investigation.