• Campaigns

Cameroon: Further information on prisoner of conscience / fear of further prisoners of conscience: Eyoum Ngangue

, Index number: AFR 17/003/1997

Eyoum Ngangue, a journalist working for the independent Le Messager newspaper and its satirical supplement Le Messager Popoli, is still imprisoned at the Central Prison, New-Bell, Douala. He was arrested in Douala on 22 January 1997 after having been sentenced in early October 1996 to a one year prison sentence and a fine by the Court of Appeal after being convicted of insulting the President of the Republic and members of the National Assembly. Another journalist sentenced with him, Pius Njawe, was conditionally released on 15 November 1996. Both men have appealed against their sentence and conviction to the Supreme Court. There is concern that Eyoum Ngangue may be a prisoner of conscience detained solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression.

EXTERNAL AI Index: AFR 17/03/97
17 March 1997
Further information (8) 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, AFR 17/01/97
14 January, AFR 17/02/97, 23 January - Prisoner of conscience / Fear of further
prisoners of conscience
CAMEROONEyoum Ngangué
Eyoum Ngangué, a journalist working for the independent newspaper Le Messager
and its satirical supplement, Le Messager Popoli, is still imprisoned at the
Central Prison, New-Bell, in Douala. He had been arrested on 22 January 1997,
after having been sentenced in early October 1996 by the Court of Appeal in
Douala to a one-year prison sentence and a fine of 300,000 CFA francs.
Both Eyoum Ngangué and the chief editor of Le Messager, Pius Njawe, were
originally sentenced only to fines on charges relating to an article which
appeared in Le Messager Popoli in December 1995. However, the Court of Appeal
increased their sentences to fines and prison terms. They were convicted of
insulting the President of the Republic and members of the National Assembly
("outrage par injure fait au Président de la République ainsi qu'aux membres
de l'Assemblée nationale"). Both journalists appealed against their
conviction and sentence to the Supreme Court.
Pius Njawe was arrested on 29 October 1996 and imprisoned in New Bell Prison.
On 15 November, he was released conditionally (liberté provisoire), following
a Supreme Court ruling the previous day.
Eyoum Ngangué's appeal has not yet been heard by the Supreme Court. His brother,
Eyoum Ndoumbé, a journalist working for the government-owned Cameroon Tribune
newspaper, was reported to have been suspended from his post after appealing
for his brother's release.
Freedom of expression is increasingly under attack in Cameroon and repression
of the press appears likely to intensify as legislative and presidential
elections approach. Legislative elections scheduled for early March 1997 have
been postponed; a new date has not yet been set. Presidential elections are
scheduled for October 1997. In addition to Pius Njawe and Eyoum Ngangué, some
seven other journalists were convicted of criminal offences and sentenced to
prison terms during 1996. Others were arrested and detained for short periods
before being released without charge. Amnesty International is concerned that
the legal system is being used to prosecute journalists solely because of their
opposition to the government and for exercising their right to freedom of
expression.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send one more round of appeals in French,
English or your own language:
- expressing concern about the continuing imprisonment of Eyoum Ngangué;
- urging his immediate and unconditional release if, as it appears, he has
been detained solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression;
- adding concern that some nine journalists were sentenced to prison terms
during 1996 and several others detained without charge;
- reminding the government of Cameroon of its obligations to guarantee the
right to freedom of expression under Article 19 of the International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights which it ratified in 1984.
2
APPEALS TO:
President
Son Excellence M. Paul Biya
Président de la République
Palais de l'Unité
1000 Yaoundé, République du Cameroun
Fax: +237 221 699
Telegrams: President, Yaoundé, Cameroon
Salutation: Monsieur le Président de la République / Dear President Biya
Prime Minister
Mr Peter Mafany Musonge
Premier Ministre
Cabinet du Premier Ministre
Immeuble Étoile
1000 Yaoundé, Cameroon
Fax: +237 235 765
Telegrams: Premier Ministre, Yaoundé, Cameroon
Salutation: Monsieur le Premier Ministre / Dear Prime Minister
Minister of Justice
M. Laurent Esso
Ministre de la Justice, Garde des Sceaux
Ministère de la Justice
1000 Yaoundé, République du Cameroun
Telegrams: Ministre Justice, Yaoundé, Cameroon
Salutation: Monsieur le Ministre / Dear Minister
Minister of State for Communication
M. Augustin Kontchou Kouomegni
Ministre d'Etat chargé de la Communication,
Ministère de la Communication
BP 1588, Yaoundé, République du Cameroun
Telegrams: Ministre Communication, Yaoundé, Cameroon
Salutation: Monsieur le Ministre / Dear Minister
COPIES TO:
- Le Messager, BP 5925, 11 Boulevard de la Liberté, Douala, République du
Cameroun
- Cameroon Post, BP 1981, Yaoundé, République du Cameroon
- The Herald, BP 3659 Messa, Yaoundé, République du Cameroun
- La Nouvelle Expression, BP 15333, 12 rue Prince de Galles, Douala,
République du Cameroun
and to diplomatic representatives of Cameroon accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Please check with the International
Secretariat or your section office is sending appeals after 28 April 1997.

Choose a language to view report