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Edzoa, Atangana, Released From Jail 

By Jude Fuhnwi — The former Secretary General at the Presidency and former personal physician of President Biya, Prof. Titus Edzoa, and Michel Thierry Atangana (Franco-Cameroonian) are now free. The Post made futile attempts to get a word from the freed prisoners as both opted to be mute. The two were released Monday, February 24, by a presidential decree allegedly triggered by persistent pressure from France.

After their release, Edzoa, accompanied by family members, went to his residence at the Odza neighbourhood in Yaounde, while Atangana left for the French Embassy at Olezoa. Edzoa reportedly threw a party, Tuesday, February 25, at his residence after 17 years of imprisonment on charges of embezzlement. The duo was first arrested in 1997, tried and each slammed a 15-year imprisonment.

But when they finished serving their jail terms in 2012, Government brought up new charges against them. The Mfoundi High Court would find them guilty and sentenced them to 20 years each. Feeling cheated, the duo appealed at the Supreme Court presided over by Justice Marc Ombala Ateba, which court instead validated the decision of the lower court. Despite pressure from France that Atangana, who was jailed for the embezzlement of public funds be released, the court said they found him and his accomplice guilty.

A French Senator, Hon. Jean Yves Laconte, who was present in court, expressed disappointment to the effect that the French citizen was sentenced on trumped-up charges. He had described the Supreme Court ruling as a miscarriage of justice that was likely to strain the cordial relations between Cameroon and France. He regretted that Atangana and Edzoa were sentenced twice for one issue.

The presidential decision releasing the prisoners comes after members of the Thierry Atangana Committee that had been fighting for the release of the Franco-Cameroonian citizen, confronted President Biya in Paris during the Security Summit he attended last year. He was reportedly booed, jeered and called names as he came out of his hotel room. In a press conference in Yaounde last December, members of the committee vowed that Biya would never have peace whenever he travelled to France, in particular, and Europe, in general, until Atangana was freed.

First published in The Post print edition 01508

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