21 June 2012


All charges against writer dropped, but he remains in prison facing blindness

Incident details

Charges dismissed, Ill health/deteriorating health

Enoh Meyomesse, Writer

This is available in:

English Français
(WiPC/IFEX) - The Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of PEN International welcomes reports that all charges against 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 Meyomesse immediately.

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 and 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.

WiPC has campaigned on Meyomesse's behalf since his arrest.

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.

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

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

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.

Click here for details of some Cameroonian embassies


Putting free expression issues in perspective.

Sign up to receive IFEX In Context.

More from Cameroon
  • Journalists Not Terrorists: In Cameroon, anti-terror legislation is used to silence critics and suppress dissent

    In 2014, Cameroon enacted a broad anti-terror law as part of its effort to counter the extremist group Boko Haram, but authorities are using it to arrest and threaten local journalists who report on the militants or unrest in the country’s English-speaking regions.

  • Freedom of the Press 2016: Cameroon

    In September, a newspaper publisher was arrested for photographing the police breakup of a workshop on democracy. His trial was postponed several times during the year.

  • Freedom of the Press 2015: Cameroon

    Ranked 145th in annual global media freedom report

At this point, would publish: "Home page"
At this point, would publish: "Coup charges against writer dropped, still faces military tribunal"
At this point, would publish: "Writer detained, faces up to 50 years in prison"
IFEX is a global network of committed organisations working to defend and promote free expression.
Permission is granted for material on this website to be reproduced or republished in whole or in part provided the source member and/or IFEX is cited with a link to the original item.