Detained Cameroon opposition leader ‘charged with insurrection’

Maurice Kamto [Reuters Images]
Lawyers of Cameroon’s main opposition leader say he has been charged with insurrection.

Maurice Kamto was arrested on Monday along with several other opposition figures, including one who was pulled out of his hospital bed where he was recovering from gunshot wounds sustained in anti-Paul Biya protests.

If found guilty, Kamto could face a prison term of five years to life.

His lawyers said he and 200 other detainees also face seven other charges, including holding illegal gatherings and disturbing the country’s peace.

Kamto and his Cameroon Renaissance Movement party claim he won the country’s October presidential election, though official figures showed he obtained only 14 percent of the vote that was won by long-serving President Paul Biya.

Cameroon has been hit by protests, with the demonstrators rejecting the vote result.

President Biya has ruled the Central African nation for 36 years, making him the second longest serving leader in the continent.

Kamto’s lawyer, Christopher Ndong, said the opposition leader had denied the charges, and that his freedom of speech right has been infringed.

“The government clampdown will not frighten anybody,” Mr Ndong said, adding that further protests were planned for Saturday.