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Page last updated at 11:44 GMT, Thursday, 29 January 2009

Cameroon 'guilty of rights abuse'

President Paul Biya
Paul Biya has governed Cameroon since 1982

The human rights group, Amnesty International, says security forces in Cameroon routinely use force to put down anti-government protests.

Political opposition was not tolerated in Cameroon, Amnesty's deputy Africa director, Tawanda Hondora, said.

Dissent was suppressed by violence or abuse of the legal system, he said.

Cameroon's government has not commented publicly, but an interior ministry official told the BBC that the accusations were grossly exaggerated.

A 52-page Amnesty report accused the Cameroon government of gross violations going back more than a decade, which mainly involved the repression of political dissent, but also covered killings and torture.

One Amnesty researcher, Godfrey Byahuranga, insisted that widespread abuses were being uncovered as the country gears up for elections in 2011, in which President Paul Biya is seeking another term in office.

"Many people have died in custody," Mr Byahuranga told the BBC's Network Africa programme.

"Others have been executed by prison warders and the police."

Amnesty had also documented cases of journalists being sent to prison for their reporting on economic and political conditions in Cameroon, or for "simply doing their job," Mr Byahuranga added.



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Protests against Cameroon's Biya
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Country profile: Cameroon
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