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UA 60/94 - Cameroon: legal concern / prisoner of conscience / health concern: Janvier Deny

, N° d'index: AFR 17/004/1994

Janvier Deny, a 32-year-old taxi driver and local section treasurer of the opposition party Union des forces democratiques du Cameroun (UFDC), Union of Cameroon Democratic Forces, was arrested on 12 January 1994 in Ebolowa, Southern Province. He is now being held in indefinite administrative detention. It is believed that he is a prisoner of conscience, and that his arrest may be part of an attempt by the authorities to intimidate opposition political parties before local government elections. There is also concern that his health has deteriorated since his arrest. He is reported to be suffering from malaria and diarrhoea. He was admitted to hopsital on 28 January, but despite his poor health, was returned to a police cell.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AFR 17/04/94
Distr: UA/SC
UA 60/94 Legal concern / Prisoner of Conscience / 18 February 1994
Health concern
CAMEROONJanvier DENY, taxi driver, aged 32, treasurer of local section of
an opposition party, the Union des forces démocratiques du Cameroun
(UFDC), Union of Cameroon Democratic Forces
Janvier Deny was arrested on 12 January 1994 and is being held in indefinite
administrative detention. Amnesty International believes that he is being
detained solely because of his peaceful political activities, and is concerned
that his health has deteriorated since his arrest. It also appears that his
arrest may be an attempt by the authorities to intimidate opposition political
parties before local government elections (élections municipales) which are
scheduled to take place in the coming months.
Janvier Deny was arrested in Ebolowa, Southern Province, 165 kilometres south
of the capital, Yaoundé, after the police found on the rear seat of his taxi
a copy of minutes (procès-verbal) of a meeting organized by some teachers
(enseignants de la Fonction publique). Although Janvier Deny denied any
connection with the document, he was arrested and taken to a police station
(commissariat) where he remains in custody.
He has not been charged or brought before a judicial authority. However, on
24 January the Senior Divisional Officer (préfet) of the Department of Ntem
issued an administrative detention order (arrêté portant internement
administratif) on the grounds of incitement to revolt, disruption of public
order and threatening the forces of law and order (incitation à la révolte,
trouble de l'ordre public et menaces contre des agents du maintien de l'ordre).
The detention order was renewed for a further 15 days on 7 February and may
again be renewed. Janvier Deny appears to be held under the provisions of
legislation introduced in December 1990 which gave broad powers of
administrative detention to a wide range of government officials and which
provided no safeguards against arbitrary detention.
Janvier Deny is reported to be suffering from malaria and diarrhoea. He is
allowed visits by his family, but he is not receiving adequate medical treatment.
He was admitted to hospital on 28 January but, despite his poor health, was
returned to a police cell.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
The UFDC is part of a coalition of opposition political parties known as the
Union for Change (Union pour le changement) which disputes the results of
presidential elections held in October 1992. President Paul Biya was
re-elected, narrowly defeating John Fru Ndi, leader of the Social Democratic
Front (SDF). There were reports of widespread electoral fraud.
During the past year hundreds of critics and opponents of the government of
President Biya have been detained for short periods, usually without charge
or trial. In March 1993 more than 100 members of the UFDC were arrested at
the headquarters of the party in Yaoundé and detained for one week. Some of
those arrested, including the UFDC's president, Dr Victorin François Hameni
Bieleu, were beaten at the time of their arrest or during their detention.
In January 1994, 11 teachers, members of the Syndicat national autonome de
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l'Enseignement secondaire, National Autonomous Union of Secondary Education,
were arrested and held without charge for six days in connection with a strike
by teachers in protest against a sharp reduction in salaries.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail
letters either in French, English or your own language:
- expressing concern about the detention since 12 January 1994 of Janvier Demy,
and the use by the authorities of an administrative detention order to keep
him in custody indefinitely;
- stating that Amnesty International believes that he is a prisoner of conscience
and urging his immediate and unconditional release;
- expressing concern about reports that his health has deteriorated since his
arrest and urging that he receive all necessary medical treatment;
- urging the authorities to end the harassment, arrest and detention of critics
and opponents of the government solely for peacefully exercising their rights
to freedom of expression, association and assembly.
APPEALS TO
1) President:
Son Excellence Monsieur Paul Biya
Président de la République
Palais de l'Unité
Yaoundé, Cameroon
Telegrams: President Biya, Yaounde, Cameroon
Faxes: + 237 221699
Telexes: 8207 PRESID KN (Secretariat général)
8595 PRESID B KN (Cabinet civil)
Salutation: Monsieur le Président de la République/Dear President Biya
2) Prime Minister:
Mr Simon Achidi Achu
Prime Minister
Prime Minister's Office
Immeuble Etoile
Yaoundé, Cameroon
Telegrams: Prime Minister Achu, Yaounde, Cameroon
Faxes: + 237 235765
Telexes: 8282 KN
Salutation: Dear Prime Minister/Monsieur le Premier Ministre
3) Deputy Prime Minister in charge of Internal Affairs:
M. Gilbert Andzé Tsoungui
Vice-Premier Ministre chargé de l'Administration territoriale
Ministère de l'Administration territoriale
1000 Yaoundé 4, Cameroon
Telegrams: Vice-Premier Ministre chargé de l'Administration territoriale
Tsoungui, Yaounde, Cameroon
Salutation: Monsieur le Vice-Premier Ministre/Dear Deputy Prime Minister
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
Dr Solomon Nfor Gwei
President
National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms
PO Box 20317
Yaoundé, Cameroon
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Cameroon Post, BP 1981, Yaoundé, Cameroon
Peuple d'Afrique, BP 1287, Yaoundé, Cameroon
La Gazette, BP 5485, Douala, Cameroon
Dikalo, BP 12656, Douala, Cameroon
and to diplomatic representatives of Cameroon accredited to your country
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 1 April 1994.

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