Fomusoh Ivo Feh, Afuh Nivelle Nfor, and Azah Levis Gob, three Cameroonian students convicted of spreading a Boko Haram joke, have been released.
The students were released after serving seven years in prison, according to Amnesty International.
The human rights organization also criticized the detention and conviction of the Cameroonian students, claiming that they were exercising their right to free expression.
“These three students, who were merely exercising their right to freedom of expression,” Amnesty International stated in a statement, “should never have been arrested in the first place.”
“The Cameroonian government must defend human rights and ensure that everyone has the freedom to express themselves without fear of retaliation.”
The students were released after the Supreme Court of Cameroon lowered their sentence to five years in prison, according to the organization.
The students have been in detention since January 2015 but were later sentenced to 10 years in prison by a military court in November 2016.
According to the statement, the court said it jailed the students for not reporting terrorism-related information.
However, the rights organisation argued that the students were punished against logic.
Amnesty International explained that the joke shared by the students was passed as a comment on the difficulty of finding a good job without being highly qualified.
In 2014, one of the convicted students had shared a text message he received from a friend.
The text message said Boko Haram was recruiting young people that passed at least four exam subjects.
The message was eventually seen by a teacher who confiscated the student’s phone and showed it to the police.