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  • Maurice Kamto, the Renaissance Movement's former presidential candidate, at his headquarter in Yaounde, Cameroon, Oct. 8, 2018.

    Maurice Kamto, the Renaissance Movement's former presidential candidate, at his headquarter in Yaounde, Cameroon, Oct. 8, 2018. | Photo: Reuters file

Published 14 February 2019

Former presidential candidate Maurice Kamto faces indictments that could carry the death penalty.

Cameroon's main opposition leader, Maurice Kamto, has been transferred to a maximum security prison after being accused, by a military tribunal, of insurrection, rebellion and hostility to the country.

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Cameroonian Opposition Leader Kamto Arrested After Protest

"Maurice Kamto, president of the Movement for the Renaissance of Cameroon (MRC), was transferred the night of Feb. 12 to Kondengui prison," Emmanuel Simh, Kamto's lawyer, said and added that he faces charges such as "hostility against the homeland, incitement to insurrection, offense against the president of the republic, destruction of public buildings and goods."

Kamto appeared Wednesday before a military court in Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon, after leaving the cell of the headquarters of the Police's Special Operations Group, where he was held after being arrested, along with other members of his party, on Jan. 28.

Simh claims that Kamto and other detained MRC leaders will now have to endure inhumane conditions in prison and as a result will start a hunger strike in protest.

Authorities accuse the opposition leader of encouraging "unauthorized" demonstrations across the country on Jan. 26, during which at least a dozen activists were injured and about 200 others arrested in cities such as Yaounde, Douala, Bangangte and Bafoussam.

The demonstrators demanded a new recount of the results of the presidential elections held on Oct. 7, 2018, in which Kamto was second with 14.23% of the votes, compared to 71.28% of Cameroon's President Paul Biya.

The opposition leader maintains, since then, that he is the legitimate winner, indicating that he would have obtained more than 39% of the votes, above the 38% that Biya would have acquired.

Maurice Kamto, who was a member of the UN International Law Commission from 1999 to 2016 and Minister-Delegate to the Minister of Justice from 2004 to 2011, resigned from the government in November 2011 to form a new opposition party.

Paul Biya, the African head of state that has been in power the longest, has led Cameroon since 1982. Human rights defenders have accused the 85-year-old president of silencing opposition voices throughout his 36-years rule over the Central African cocoa and oil exporter.

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