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France - Cameroon

Franco-Cameroonian man headed for Paris after 17 years in jail

Michel Thierry Atangana (L) with his lawyers at the French ambassador's residence in Yaoundé
Michel Thierry Atangana (L) with his lawyers at the French ambassador's residence in Yaoundé AFP

A Franco-Cameroonian man, who was freed Monday night after spending 17 years in prison in Cameroon, will be back in France by the end of the week.

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Michel Thierry Antagana, 49, is currently staying at the home of France’s ambassador to Cameroon.

His lawyer says he plans to visit the grave of his mother, who died while he was in prison.

Atangana, who went to Cameroon in 1994 to work on road construction projects, was arrested in 1997 and found guilty of embezzling public funds – accusations he has denied, blaming the judgement on political considerations.

He was sentenced to 15 years in prison and was due to get out in 2012 but new charges where brought against him and he was sentenced to 20 more years in October last year.

His imprisonment became a source of tension between France and Cameroon.

In May last year French president François Hollande condemned the length of the sentence

In November the UN High Comission for Human rights denounced the “inhuman” conditions of his detention.

Atangana was freed by decree from Cameroon’s President Paul Biya.

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