13 October 1998


Journalist released

Incident details

Pius Njawé



(WAN/IFEX) - On 12 October 1998, WAN welcomed the release from prison in
Douala, Cameroon of Pius Njawé, publisher of "Le Messager" newspaper.

**Updates IFEX alerts of 11 September, 24 June, 3 June, 7 May, 23 April
1998, and others**
"We are delighted that the Cameroon authorities have finally given in to
pressure from the international community to release Njawé, all the more so
since he was jailed in the first place on an entirely trumped-up charge,"
said the Director General of WAN, Timothy Balding. "Now that Njawé, one of
the most distinguished personalities in the fight for freedom of the press
in Cameroon and throughout Africa, is free, one can only hope that his
government will cease its campaign of intimidation of the independent

Njawé, a member of the WAN Press Freedom Committee and the winner of the
organisation's 1993 Golden Pen of Freedom, was physically assaulted twice in
his prison cell in the days leading up to his release. "We join with Pius
Njawé in fearing for his physical safety as a free man. We want to make it
clear to the Cameroon authorities that they will be held responsible for any
harm that comes to him or his entourage," said Balding.

Background Information

Njawé was released by Presidential Decree, almost three months before the
end of his term for "spreading false news," after an aggressive campaign by
WAN and numerous other organisations. In April, his two-year prison term,
received for speculating on the ill health of President Biya during a
football match, had been reduced to a one-year on appeal.


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