Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The request of Thierry Atangana before the French National Assembly

What Thierry Atangana, Cameroon's prisoner of conscience asks the French National Assembly to do for him..

French engineer of Cameroonian origin, Michel Thierry Atangana was born on June 14, 1964 in Yaoundé. He was imprisoned for 17 years, including five in solitary confinement, in Cameroon. He was recognized as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International. In addition to this, a procedure, inspired by his case, is initiated by Pierre-Alain Raphan, LREM deputy (majority) is on the right track. Since the presidential pardon obtained in 2014, he has asked France to help him obtain reparation.

This is how Raphan has tabled a bill in the National Assembly to recognize in French law the opinions (hitherto advisory) of the UN working group on arbitrary detention, informs Jeune Afrique. Developed with the Beninese Rolan Adjovi, vice-president of the UN group, this text aims to offer victims of arbitrary detention abroad "protection" in France and "compensation facilitated through a national support mechanism". 

According to Jeune Afrique, the proposal, which would engage French diplomacy alongside victims recognized by the UN, will be put forward by the LREM group and examined before September, with the approval of the Quai d'Orsay and the Élysée, where Jean-Yves Le Drian and Patrick Strzoda, director of cabinet of Emmanuel Macron, support Atangana's request. 

Accused of supporting the opponent Titus Edzoa

As a reminder, on May 12, 1997, Atangana was arrested by elements of the Cameroonian special forces, accused of supporting an opponent of the government, Titus Edzoa. Arrested, all of his property was seized. For 5 years, he was placed in total isolation. He indicates in later interviews that France has long denied his French nationality, and that he had to wait 15 years before a French official visited him, thanks to the help of the French ambassador to Cameroon Bruno Gain. 

Since 2005, the status of political prisoner has been recognized by the United States Department of State. He was recognized as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International in 2013. By decision dated 13 November 2013, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention condemned the arbitrary nature of Michel Thierry's detention Atangana and demanded his immediate release. 

Following the opinion of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the United Nations, a decree from Cameroonian President Paul Biya granted him a reduced sentence.