CAMEROON - All charges against writer Enoh Meyomesse dropped; still in prison and facing blindness


RAN 04/12 update #3 20 June 2012

The Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of PEN International welcomes reports that all charges against the writer and activist Enoh Meyomesse have been dropped, but we are outraged that he remains in jail. We are also worried by reports that Meyomesse is suffering from a serious eye condition, for which he must undergo an urgent operation if he is to avoid going blind. The WiPC calls on the Cameroonian authorities to release Enoh Meyomesse immediately.

Enoh Meyomesse, 57, 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. He faced a 50-year prison sentence if found guilty.

Since the moment of his arrest, there were serious concerns about the charges against him, and also about his treatment in prison, which at times amounted to torture. There were reports that the prosecution had fabricated evidence, and that Meyomesse – for the first few months of his incarceration – was denied proper legal representation.

In late January 2012, the coup charges against the writer were the first to be dropped; in the intervening months, the other charges against Meyomesse crumbled. Until recently, the only charge on which he was being held was a minor infringement of mineral trading law. According to reports, this charge has now been dropped too.

Despite facing no charges, Meyomesse is being held in the over-crowded Kondengui Central Prison in Yaoundé. He has been detained since November 2011. His first month in detention was spent in solitary confinement, and in complete darkness. According to reports, this month in total blackness probably provoked the debilitating eye condition which, if left untreated, will lead to total blindness.

The Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International has campaigned on Meyomesse’s behalf since his arrest.

For further information on Enoh Meyomesse, and on the poor state of free expression in Cameroon, please see Enoh Meyomesse and Meyomesse update

Please send appeals:

Calling for the immediate release of Enoh Meyomesse on the grounds that he no longer faces any charges;
Demanding that he receive proper and urgent medical treatment for his eye condition.

Write to:

President
President Paul Biya
Fax: +237 22 22 08 70
Email: cellcom@prc.cm or contact@presidenceducameroun.com
Messages may also be sent via the Presidency’s website: http://www.prc.cm/index_fr.php?link=messenger/write_pr

Minister of Justice
Hon. Minister of Justice Laurent Esso
Ministry of Justice
Yaoundé
Cameroon
Fax: +237 22 23 00 05

Prime Minister
Mr. Philemon Yang, Prime Minister
Fax: +237 22 23 57 35
Email: spm@spm.gov.cm

Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Cameroon in your country if possible. Details of some Cameroonian embassies can be seen here: http://embassy.goabroad.com/embassies-of/cameroon
***Please send appeals immediately. Check with PEN International if sending appeals after 20 August 2012***

For further details please contact Cathal Sheerin at the Writers in Prison Committee London Office: PEN International, Brownlow House, 50-51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER Tel: +44 (0) 207 405 0338 Fax +44 (0) 207 405 0339 email: cathal.sheerin@pen-international.org