EXTERNAL AI Index: AFR 17/01/97
14 January 1997
Further information (6) on UA 250/96 (AFR 17/06/96, 31 October 1996) and
follow-ups: AFR 17/08/96, 12 November; AFR 17/09/96, 15 November; AFR 17/11/96,
11 December; AFR 17/12/96, 13 December; AFR 17/13/96, 18 December 1996 - Prisoner
of conscience/Fear of further POCs
CAMEROONEvariste Menouga )
Peter William Mandio ) journalists
Daniel Atangana )
Evariste Menouga, a journalist on Le Nouvel Indépendant newspaper, was released
without charge on 19 December 1996. He had been detained since 27 November
1996. Daniel Atangana, who had been arrested on 10 December 1996, was also
released without charge on 29 December 1996. Daniel Atangana was arrested
after writing an article for Le Front Indépendant, a newspaper which was
established when Le Nouvel Indépendant was temporarily suspended.
Peter William Mandio, a journalist on the newspaper Le Nouvel Indépendant and
also director of Le Front Indépendant, had earlier been released without charge
on 16 December 1996.
In all three cases, the 72-hour period allowed by law before a detainee must
be brought before a judicial authority to be charged or released was exceeded.
No warrants for the arrest of these journalists were produced, nor were they
informed of the accusations against them.
Restrictions on freedom of expression intensified in Cameroon during 1996.
At least seven journalists were sentenced to prison terms and several others
were arrested and detained without charge. Newspapers were suspended. The
increased number of arrests, detention, convictions and imprisonment of
journalists appears to be an attempt by the government to inhibit criticism
of government policies, prominent government members and those closely
associated with them.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send letters or faxes in French, English
or your own language:
- welcoming the releases of Evariste Menouga and Daniel Atangana;
- expressing concern, however, about the increasing number of journalists who
have been arrested, detained, convicted and imprisoned in Cameroon and reminding
the government of its obligations to guarantee the right to freedom of expression
under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,
which Cameroon ratified in 1984;
- urging that no journalists be detained or imprisoned solely for exercising
their right to freedom of expression.
Son Excellence M. Paul Biya
Président de la République
Palais de l'Unité
1000 Yaoundé, République du Cameroun
Fax: +237 221 699
Salutation: Monsieur le Président de la République / Dear President Biya