Fomusoh Ivo Feh
Azah Levis Gob
Afuh Nivelle Nfor
Detained: December 13, 2014.
Charges: Complicity in a rebellion and non-denunciation of terrorism related information.
Original Sentence: Ten years in prison.
Biography: Fomusoh Ivo Feh was arrested by six men in plain clothes at Mile Four Limbe, in the South-West region of Cameroon on December 13, 2014 following a sarcastic SMS message that he sent to a friend, Azah Levis Gob who also shared it with his friend, Afuh Nivelle Nfor who was a student in secondary school. The SMS was sent as a simple joke alluding to the challenges of getting into university or finding a good job without being highly qualified, suggesting it was easier to join the armed group Boko Haram. According to his lawyer, the message read "Boko Haram recruits young people from 14 years-old and above. Conditions for recruitment: 4 subjects at GCE, plus religion."
All three were transferred to the prison in Yaoundé on January 14, 2015 and had their legs chained at the ankles. On March 3, 2015, they were charged with ‘complicity in a rebellion’ and ‘non-denunciation’, under articles 74, 97, 107, 116 of the Cameroonian Penal Code and article 230 of the Cameroonian Military Code and then placed under provisional detention.
On the basis of the SMS which was the only presented “evidence,” an investigating judge of the Military Court concluded in January 2016 that there was sufficient evidence for all three accused to stand trial before the Yaoundé Military Court on charges of ‘complicity in a rebellion’ and ‘non-denunciation.’
On November 2, 2016 a Military Court convicted the three young men to 10 years in prison for crimes related to terrorism. Their lawyer filed an appeal. After multiple delays, a Military Court upheld the 10-year sentence in the absence of the defendants.
In 2018, a court of appeals upheld the sentence. Subsequently, their lawyer filed an appeal with the Supreme Court which is the highest and last level in the internal judicial system. On December 16, 2021, the Supreme Court upheld the charges but reduced their sentence from ten years to five years, which had already been completed at the time of the ruling. They were released the weekend of December 25, 2021.
Fomusoh Ivo Feh, Azah Levis Gob, and Afuh Nivelle Nfor have been RELEASED.
Advocate: Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE)
Advocacy Partner: Amnesty International