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CAMEROON - Charges against Writer Meyomesse Reduced; Still faces Trial before Military Court

Friday 13 April 2012 - 1:00am

RAN 04/12 update #2 13 April 2012

PEN International is relieved by reports that the charges against the writer and political activist Enoh Meyomesse have been reduced once again, but we remain deeply concerned that he still faces trial before a military tribunal on charges of complicity in the armed robbery of 78 grams of gold; the writer has also recently been charged with mineral trade law violations. There are worrying allegations that the evidence against Meyomesse is fabricated, and that the writer is being punished for his views. PEN is seeking more information regarding these claims.

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.

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 have crumbled. According to reports received by PEN, the investigating judge is now seeking to establish a connection between Meyomesse and the theft of a small amount of gold, an alleged crime at which the writer was not present.

Meyomesse is currently in the over-crowded Kondengui Central Prison in Yaoundé. He has been detained since November 2011. PEN is concerned for Meyomesse’s physical well-being; he has lost a substantial amount of weight whilst in prison.

There are reports that the prosecution fabricated evidence, and that Meyomesse has been denied proper access to legal representation, but, due to a lack of further information, PEN International is unable to take a position on the charges against him at this time. However, we are extremely concerned by the Cameroonian authorities’ unwillingness to allow Meyomesse fair conditions in which to mount a proper defence in an open court.

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 Meyomesse to receive a fair and open trial in a civilian court;
Expressing serious concern that Meyomesse has at times been denied proper access to a lawyer, breaching Cameroon’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
Condemning the harsh conditions in which he is being held.

Write to:

President Paul Biya
Fax: +237 22 22 08 70
Email: or
Messages may also be sent via the Presidency’s website:

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

Prime Minister
Mr. Philemon Yang, Prime Minister
Fax: +237 22 23 57 35

Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Cameroon in your country if possible. Details of some Cameroonian embassies can be seen here:

***Please send appeals immediately. Check with PEN International if sending appeals after 13 June 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: