New verdict, same prison sentence to Lapiro
Lapiro de Mbanga’s sentence of three years imprisonment and the fine of FCFA 280 millions was confirmed at a court hearing on 24 June 2009 in Douala. In addition, more than FCFA 500,000 was added to the singer’s fine.
By Jen Bell, Freemuse’s correspondent in Cameroon
After nearly ten hours of talks at the Appeal Court of Bonanjo in Douala, the court ruling took Lapiro de Mbanga back to Square One. Lapiro’s lawyers gave all the arguments to free their client, but neither their arguments or Lapiro’s personal call to the judges, showing his five children who are suffering from his absence, succeeded in opening the judges leniency.
After listening to the presiding judge and the state prosecutors, as well as the lawyers and Lapiro himself, the verdict which was given at 9 pm only confirmed the sentence of 24 September 2008. That means that Lambo Sandjo Pierre Roger, alias Lapiro de Mbanga, is sentenced to tree years imprisonment and imposed a fine of FCFA 280 millions plus further FCFA 550,000 to pay.
This was a great deception for his family, his fans and his lawyers who came in large numbers to the court to support him and who would have loved to see him free and return to his activities. Nevertheless, nobody was surprised with that decision, as Lapiro confided in Freemuse’s correspondent before the verdict: “I know very well that my case is political and it will not be easy for me”, he said.
The questions he and his lawyers would like to have response on is: why the perpetrators of the strike of the February 2008 accused of destroying public goods, are all free now and he, who is ‘accomplice’, as they said, is still in prison?
According to Lapiro, as his lawyers promised to seize the Supreme Court in last recourse, his only and unique hope now is the international mobilisation around this case to help him prove his innocence. He can no longer trust the authorities system of justice.
Photos: by Jen Bell, Freemuse
Lapiro de Mbanga in court on 24 June 2009
|Related reading on freemuse.org|