10 July 2012

Cameroon: Writer's Detention Extended, but Still No Charges Laid

press release

The Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) has seen documentation showing that the jailed Cameroonian writer Enoh Meyomesse will continue to be detained at Kondengui Central Prison in Yaoundé until the 30 December 2012, despite facing no charges.

This means that the writer will have spent 13 months in prison - including one month spent in solitary confinement - without ever having been convicted of a crime. A judge ordered the extension of Meyomesse's detention so that the prosecutor could ostensibly search for evidence against the writer. The WiPC is appalled by the malicious detention of Enoh Meyomesse and calls for his immediate release.

Enoh Meyomesse, 58, is the author of numerous books and is a founding member of the Cameroon Writers Association. He was arrested on 22 November 2011 and charged with 1) attempting to organise a coup 2) possessing a firearm 3) aggravated theft. Meyomesse denied all charges and maintained that he had been arrested because of views expressed in his writings, and for his political activism.

In the months following his arrest, the charges against Meyomesse began to crumble and, one by one, all were dropped. But the writer has remained in prison.

Meyomesse is also reportedly suffering from a degenerative eye condition. There are concerns that the time he spent in solitary confinement - where he was kept in total darkness - worsened his eyesight. He has not been receiving adequate medical treatment whilst in prison.

Cameroon has been ruled over by President Paul Biya for 30 years and has a poor record on human rights generally, and on free expression particularly.

The WiPC has been collaborating with a small group of Enoh Meyomesse's friends and supporters who visit him regularly in prison. However, these supporters are now being subjected to attacks by pro-government media; one newspaper has recently described them as 'vultures that are polluting the country.'

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