Jean Pierre fled Cameroon and arrived in the UK in 2003 where he made a claim for asylum. In Cameroon, Jean Pierre was an active member of the Southern Cameroon National Council (SCNC) a secessionist movement that has been declared illegal in Cameroon, distributing leaflets and attending rallies and demonstrations in support of the SCNC.
He was imprisoned and tortured in Cameroon for his political actions and opinions. In prison he was subjected to torture including being kicked, whipped and a practice called ‘falaka’, which is a where a victim’s legs are tied together and soles of the feet are beaten with the flat surface of a machete. This torture is extremely effective due to the clustering of nerve endings in the feet and the structure of the foot, with its numerous small bones and tendons.
An independent medical examiner concluded that Jean Pierre’s numerous scars are highly consistent with being repeatedly kicked and consistent with being whipped by electric cables. The pain that Jean Pierre experiences on walking is described as being highly consistent with ‘falaka’. Jean Pierre suffers flashbacks, intrusive memories, nightmares about being tortured and is being medicated for depression, post traumatic stress disorder and sleep disturbances.
Jean Pierre also suffers from Hepatitis C and has received some treatment at Cardiff’s University Hospital of Wales. A Clinical Nurse Specialist in Hepatology there has stated that it is vital that Jean Pierre’s health is reviewed in relation to his Hepatitis C treatment in October this year.
The U.S. Department of State Report on Human Rights Practices in Cameroon  describes the government’s human rights record as poor, detailing how Security forces regularly engage in torture and beatings and how authorities arbitrarily arrest and detain Anglophone citizens advocating secession, local human rights monitors and activists and other citizens.
The Amnesty International Human Rights Report for Cameroon  details how 40 members SCNC were awaiting trial on charges ranging from wearing SCNC T-shirts to agitating for secession, at the end of 2007.
The Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture has stated that “It is time that the Home office stopped dismissing the bulk of asylum claims from Cameroon as unfounded”. Their 2002 report Every Morning Like Coffee: Torture in Cameroon accuses the UK Government of consistently failing to protect asylum seekers from Cameroon where torture is widespread and systematic.
In the UK Jean Pierre was living in Cardiff where he has established a strong and positive link with his community. He is well integrated and well known to his community. He was working as a volunteer at the local British Red Cross. Jean Pierre is also a member of Refugee Voice Wales in Cardiff.
In the light of the current situation facing members of the SCNC in Cameroon and Jean Pierre’s health status, he should be offered protection in the UK.
What you can do to help:
1) Send urgent faxes immediately to Rt. Hon. Jacqui Smith, Secretary of State for the Home Office using this model letter asking that Jean Pierre Gueutchue be granted protection in the UK.
Fax: 020 7035 3262 (+ 44 20 7035 3262 if you are faxing from outside UK)
2) Send urgent faxes to Sam Okwulehie, Group Area Manager Kenya Airways using this model letter, urging them not to participate in forcibly removing a victim of torture.
Fax: 020 8745 5027 (+44 20 8745 5027from outside the UK)
Tel: 020 8283 1800 (+ 44 2082 831 800 from outside the UK)
‘Emergencies only’ tel: 020 8759 7366 (+ 44 20 8759 7366 from outside the UK)