2 January 2018

Zimbabwe: Zim Woman Excited As Hubby Is Freed From Cameroonian Jail

Photo: Georges Seguin/Wikimedia Commons
Novelist Patrice Nganang (file photo).

A US-BASED Zimbabwean woman says she is excited following the release of her Cameroonian husband who was detained for three weeks on charges of threatening to shoot that country's president.

Early last month, Nyasha Bakare, who was born in Zimbabwe but now lives in the US, led a global campaign to free her husband, Patrice Nganang, who had been arrested at an airport in Yauonde, Cameroon.

A dual US and Cameroonian citizen and a professor at New York's Stony Brook University, Nganang was arrested when he was about to board a flight to Harare to meet Bakare and their daughter, Nomsa aged eight years for the festive holiday.

Bakare and Nomsa were visiting relatives in Zimbabwe.

Nganang was arrested on 6 December, denied bail and remanded to a maximum security prison on charges that he had threatened to shoot Cameroon president, Paul Biya.

"Patrice faces charges in Cameroon linked to his writings critical of the Cameroonian situation and government. He was arrested Dec 6, 2017, while embarking on a flight for Harare (Zimbabwe) to join his wife and daughter," Bakare wrote in an appeal soon after her husband's arrest.

Her appeal for the release of Nganang immediately attracted global attention and last Thursday a Cameroonian judge was forced to order his release and immediate deportation to the US.

"We are very excited to be reunited and can't wait," Bakare wrote after the release of the professor.

Bakare said her husband had been arrested for writing an article for a French magazine criticising Biya's 35 year-long rule.

Angela Quintal programme coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), said international pressure and efforts from supporters played an important role in securing Nganang's release.

"(It) is a sign that President Paul Biya's administration has woken up to the fact that violating the right to freedom of expression to silence critical voices, including in the press will not be condoned by freedom-loving Cameroonian citizens, or the international community," Quintal said.

Bakare and Nomsa have since left Zimbabwe for the US to reunite with Nganang.

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