4 September 1998


Journalist arrested

Incident details

Michel Michaut Moussala



(RSF/IFEX) - According to RSF's information, on 3 September 1998,
plainclothes police arrested Michel Michaut Moussala, editor of the
privately-owned publication "Aurore Plus", near his Douala home. He was
taken to a police station in the morning, then transferred to the New Bell
Prison in the afternoon.

**Updates IFEX alerts of 22 and 14 January 1998**

Background Information

On 13 January, the journalist was sentenced to six months' imprisonment and
fined one million CFA francs (equivalent to 10,000 French francs). His
conviction followed a complaint lodged by Jean Tchoussa Moussa Mbatkam,
Director General of the National Ports Department of Cameroon (ONPC) and a
deputy of the Rassemblement Démocratique du Peuple Camerounais (RDPC), the
ruling party. On 16 December 1997, the paper had published an article,
titled "ONPC, Volume II, Tchouta Moussa at the centre of a failed coup"
("ONPC, tome II, Tchouta Moussa au centre d'un coup d'Etat manqué"), in
which it accused him of having taken advantage of his position as director
of the ONPC to incite a coup (see IFEX alerts). The police officers who
arrested the editor on 3 September had a warrant issued by the courts on 14
January, the day after he was sentenced.

Recommended Action

Send appeals to the president:

  • without specifically commenting on the case, reminding him that
    Cameroon has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political
    Rights, Article 19 of which safeguards the right to inform and be informed,
    and that the country has ratified the African Charter on Human and People's
    Rights, Article 9 of which guarantees the same rights
  • asking him to respect Cameroon's international commitments, and to
    ensure they are respected by others
  • asking that he use his influence to secure Michel Michaut Moussala's
    release, awaiting trial
  • also urging him to favour alternative sentences to prison terms

    Appeals To

    President Paul Biya
    Presidential Palace
    Yaoundé, Cameroon
    Fax: +237 23 30 33/22 12 99/23 00 05

    Please send copies of your appeals to RSF and to the:

    Ministry of Justice
    Yaoundé, Cameroon

    Ministry of Communications
    Yaoundé, Cameroon

  • Source

    Reporters Without Borders
    47, rue Vivienne
    75002 Paris, France
    rsf (@) rsf.org

    Fax:+33 1 45 23 11 51
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