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Cameroon: Marafa Hamidou Yaya’s detention conditions have deteriorated further at the SED, according to Jeune Afrique

by Theophile
Marafa Hamidou Yaya

Detained at the Secretariat of State for Defense(SED) in Yaoundé, the former Secretary General of Paul BIYA sees the chains tightening around his arms, according to Jeune Afrique. Since the interview given to the pan-African magazine in April, the newspaper indicates, security procedures have been strengthened at the entrance to the SED, visiting rights have been withdrawn from the prisoner who is nevertheless very ill.

Detained at the Secretariat of State for Defense in Yaoundé, the former Secretary General of Paul BIYA Marafa Hamidou Yaya sees the chains tightening around his arms, according to Jeune Afrique.

Since the interview given to the pan-African magazine in April, the newspaper indicates, security procedures have been strengthened at the entrance to the SED, visiting rights have been withdrawn from the prisoner who is nevertheless very ill.

Marafa Hamidou Yaya fears losing the sight in his left eye, which suffers from severe glaucoma, and has not been granted permission to be treated abroad. His family has seen its flow of visitors drastically reduced, including his daughter who was turned away at the entrance to the place of detention. The former Secretary General of the Presidency of the Republic has requested permission to be medically evacuated, but his requests have remained unanswered.

Read below the article published by Jeune Afrique, on June 17, 2024:

After responding to an interview with Jeune Afrique on April 23 from his cell, Marafa Hamidou Yaya expected, after his speech, a tightening of his detention conditions at the Secretariat of State for Defense (SED), this garrison which houses both the headquarters of the gendarmerie and a branch prison for former members of the government and senior officials of Cameroon. The outcome proved the former Secretary General of President Paul Biya right.

Security procedures have been strengthened at the entrance to the SED, where the former Minister of Territorial Administration has been detained since 2012, sentenced to twenty-five years in prison for “intellectual complicity in the embezzlement of public funds.” In addition to the usual two gendarmerie checks (an identity check at the main entrance and a second with a search at the entrance to the annex prison), there was a checkpoint manned by members of the Special Intervention Group (GSO), an elite police unit.

Marafa Hamidou Yaya fears losing his sight

You must therefore show your credentials once more before accessing the pavilion transformed into a detention cell, where Marafa Hamidou Yaya and his neighbor, Emmanuel Gérard Ondo Ndong, a former general director of the Special Fund for Equipment and Inter-Municipal Intervention (Feicom), sentenced to 30 years in prison for embezzlement of public funds, are staying. After the interview with Jeune Afrique was published, almost all communication permits issued to visitors by the prosecutor were canceled.

The former secretary general’s personal chef has kept his sesame and is still responsible for bringing the prisoner’s meals to the SED. In addition, only one member of his family can still visit him. But the flow of visitors has been drastically reduced: while passing through Cameroon, one of his daughters living in the United States was turned away in May at the entrance to the place of detention.

Suffering from severe glaucoma, Marafa Hamidou Yaya has already lost the use of his right eye. He now fears for his left eye. The former secretary general of the presidency sent President Paul Biya several requests for authorization for medical evacuation. They remained unanswered for a long time.

According to information from Jeune Afrique, the presidency offered to bring in a technical platform and Turkish doctors so that he could receive appropriate care in a local hospital. Fearing in particular for the post-operative consequences, the prisoner rejected this proposal.

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