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17 suspects in reporter’s death to face trial 

The 50-year-old journalist's badly mutilated corpse was discovered days after his abduction near a police station outside Yaounde on January 17, 2023...

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17 suspects in reporter’s death to face trial

Court papers reveal that seventeen individuals, including a prominent businessman and a former secret service chief, are set to stand trial in Cameroon for the murder of radio reporter Arsene Salomon Mbani Zogo, widely known as “Martinez.”

The 50-year-old journalist’s badly mutilated corpse was discovered days after his abduction near a police station outside Yaounde on January 17, 2023.

Martinez was known for his vocal criticism of alleged corruption and cronyism in Cameroon, often naming government officials directly in his reports.

The trial, yet to receive a set date, involves influential figures such as Jean-Pierre Amougou Belinga, owner of the Anecdote media group, who was arrested two weeks after Martinez’s tragic death.

Belinga faces a “fabricated charge” of complicity in torture, according to his lawyer, Charles Tchoungang.

READ ALSO: GOCOP condoles with Greenbarge Reporters Editor-In-Chief over mother death 

The court order, justifying the trial, highlights “sufficient charges against the indicted” as grounds for concluding the judicial inquiry.

Additionally, Maxime Leopold Eko Eko, the former head of Cameroon’s DGRE spy agency, is also slated to stand trial for complicity in torture, while the DGRE’s operations director, Justin Danwe, faces charges of complicity in murder.

However, concerns linger among Cameroonians regarding the prospect of justice in a country ranked 118th out of 180 for press freedom by Reporters Without Borders.

Despite the release of Belinga and Eko Eko in December without formal explanations, a new investigative judge has been appointed to handle the case.

Human Rights Watch underscores ongoing restrictions on freedom of expression in Cameroon, noting the killing of three independent journalists in the country last year.

As the trial unfolds, the international community closely watches the proceedings, emphasizing the importance of justice in the pursuit of press freedom and accountability.

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