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Case Studies

Here are some case studies and testimonials from CRAT Cameroon clients.

All names have been changed to maintain confidentiality.

 

 

Mark

Mark is a  37-year-old   single parent of one. He  hails from Batibo in Momo Division, and is a farmer by profession living with family. On or about the 6th of November 2009 was arrested and brought to the awaiting trial section of Central Prison Bamenda on the charge of False Pretense an offence punishable under the Cameroonian Penal Code but for 6 months he has never visited the court even once.

He was caught by the police officers of Batibo and kept in the cell for two weeks, three days sleeping on the bare floor.  He received serious threats from the officers while there which created a lot of fear in the client to have him speak the truth leading to psychological torture.

Physically, the client developed body distressed, epi-gastric pain and some abdominal pains leading to weight loss.

Psychologically, the client felt traumatized and had the fear that he is going to spent the rest of his life in jail or even die for a crime he has not committed.

He was assessed, and given psychosocial and legal counseling and advice.

Psycho-socially he was made to accept his placement

Legally he was assisted in drafting a complaint to the PG reporting the case that he was found not guilty but has been kept by the State Council of Batibo, that until he pay a sum of 300.00frsCFA,he will remain in jail.

He is supposed to be rereleased free of charge because he has not committed any crime, though the State Council now has reduced the sum of 300.00frs to 100.000frs, there is still follow-up to be done.

 

 

John

 John is a butcher by profession and is aged 32 . He was a suspected of theft and was arrested by the elements of BIR (ARMY OFFICERS) of the village.

John was beaten with cutlasses, batons, and hands, given Falanga by the BIR who also poured water all over his body which it entered his nostrils and eyes and almost suffocating him. With this he developed body pains and fever, could not even speak out well and some other complaints which needed medical assistance. 

Physically, John was inflicted with pain all over his body and you could see some bruises on his body coupled with the fact that he was suffering from hemorrhoids.

Psychologically, client regretted the fact that he was suffering innocently, for a crime he has committed.

John was also diagnosed as having a legal problem and was counselled to file a motion for bail through a lawyer to court for his bail to be granted. He also had some medical challenges which were referred to a CRAT Nurse. So when he followed the procedure given him, his bail was granted by the court while awaiting any evidence to prove him guilty.

John is now assumed innocent until proven otherwise.

 

 

Fidelis

When I recently visited one of the prisons I discovered a 23 years old boy. For confidentiality reasons let’s call him Fidelis. He was arrested and taken to prison at the age of 19 years. He was accused of stealing. He suffered general body beating, almost to death, both by a public mob and then by the military officials. He went to prison with scars of wounds he received after staying from police detention areas for several weeks. After spending three years in prison and with his case not yet being heard by the State Counsel, he decided to attempt an escape out of the prison. He was caught.

Fidelis testified that when he was caught

‘the warders tortured me, beat me, hung me on the ceiling head down and hit the soles of my feet with an old rusted machete.  After two days I was pushed to the yard and they put chains on my two legs and locked it and took the keys away.  I have been with these chains for six months.’

His liberty was completely denied to him. He was taken to the court with the chains and the State Counsel sentenced him for five years with a fine of 50,000francs. CRAT mediated to this case and the parents of Fidelis said such a sum was too much and they preferred that he shall serve the prison sentence.

Chaining of inmates is very common in prisons which, to the officials, are a way of restraining the inmates; especially hardened criminals and escapists. Fidelis, like many other fellow inmates in other prisons in the area, was in prison for three years before his case was heard.  It is clear that the constant adjourning of his case by the State counsel caused such desperation in him that he attempted an escape.

The fate of victims of trauma and torture is that, being poor or otherwise, they are socially marginalized which severely increases the risk of being tortured. The work of CRAT Cameroon is about making sure that men, women and children who have been subjected to torture are able to access rehabilitation care and support regardless of where and who they are. With an interdisciplinary team in CRAT we work to rehabilitate victims of trauma and torture to restore them to health, well-being and self-reliance through medical, psychological, legal, and socio-economic assistance. We also collaborate with other partners to introduce them into CRAT programs for more efficiency.  CRAT is now in a stronger position than ever before to address their need and rights and to advocate on their behalf. Our organization is staffed with dedicated nurses, social workers, layers, volunteers, interns, psychologists and psychiatric nurses. Notwithstanding the administrative staff who do a lot of monitoring and supervision of the interdisciplinary teams  to work with a unique experience and knowledge about how to help torture survivors have hope, healings and dignity to their personalities and wounds.

Therefore, CRAT Cameroon join the world-wide to call upon the state to ensure that victims of torture and other forms of degrading treatment obtain full redress and urge them to adopt general guarantees of non-repetition including taking determined steps to fight impunity.                                                      

 

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