Cameroon court drops charges against Biya opposition supporters

Cameroon's President Paul Biya is seen at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York City, U.S. September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

A court in Douala, Cameroon has dropped charges against 52 opposition supporters who had been protesting against the re-election of President Paul Biya.

Cameroonian President Paul Biya casts his ballot while his wife Chantal watches during the presidential election in Yaounde, Cameroon October 7, 2018. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

Opposition candidate Maurice Kamto of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement (MRC) party, disputes the official results, alleging widespread fraud.

The activists had been in detention since October, all expect Barrister Michelle Ndoki, a senior MRC official.

He told the BBC that the public prosecutor dropped the charges “on the instructions of the minister of justice”.

It was a relief that sometimes “things can go right” in Cameroon, he said.

But he added that the “trumped-up charges only illustrate that freedom of speech, and freedom generally, is still a problem in Cameroon”.