WASHINGTON, February 17, 2022 –The American Bar Association Center for Human Rights monitored the criminal trial of journalist Paul Chouta in Cameroon from September 2019 to May 2021 as part of the Clooney Foundation for Justice’s TrialWatch initiative and assigned the trial a grade of “D.”.
The prosecution and conviction of Chouta for defamation, publication of insulting language, and false reporting as a cyber offense constituted a severe violation of his right to freedom of expression. Additionally, the proceedings were marred by fair trial violations: in particular, violation of the right to be tried without undue delay, especially given that Chouta remained in detention for almost two years throughout the proceedings.
The report calls upon the Yaounde Court of Appeal, which is considering Chouta’s appeal, to overturn his conviction.
A copy of the report can be read here.
The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.
The Clooney Foundation for Justice's TrialWatch initiative monitors criminal prosecutions of vulnerable persons around the world. For more information, go to https://cfj.org/project/trialwatch/