Jailed journalist Ahmed Abba has been named as recipient for the 2017 International Press Freedom Award. Currently he serving 10 years prison sentence by a Cameroon military tribunal.
The International Press Freedom Award is an annual prize awarded by Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). It was founded in 1991 and since then dozens of people from media have been awarded.
CPJ is a media rights body and the award honors such journalists who have shown courage in defending freedom of press even when trapped in situations like imprisonment, threats and attacks.
This year the award is shared with Ahmed Abba, Pravit Rojanaphruk from Thailand, Afrah Nasser from Yemen and Patricia Mayorga from Mexico.
Abba was arrested on 30 July 2015 in Maroua. He is a correspondent for Radio France Internationale’s Hausa service. In pre-trial detention he spent 635 days in prison and was convicted in April this year on charges of ‘non-denunciation of terrorism’ as well as ‘laundering of the proceeds of terrorist acts.’
His conviction sparked outrage and Cameroonian journalists’ union leader Denis Nkwembo said it is like a punishment to the whole press and criminalizing profession of journalism in the country.
Amnesty International’s Lake Chad researcher Ilaria Allegrozzi said his conviction is an unfair trial and it is evident that military courts in Cameroon should not have jurisdiction in such cases.
CPJ executive director Joel Simon said across the world journalists are facing growing threats and they are honoring the most courageous one who stands as example to others.