12. November 2014
President Paul Biya
Hon. Minister of Justice Laurent Esso
Ministry of Justice
Prime Minister Philemon Yang
Cameroonian poet, Dieudonné Enoh Meyomesse, is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence for alleged complicity in the theft and illegal sale of gold. It has now been 15 months since Meyomesse’s lawyers succeeded in having his case referred to a civil court for appeal. His appeal was expected to be heard on 20 June 2013 but the hearing was postponed. At least 11 further hearings have been postponed due to various legal technicalities. He is currently being held in the overcrowded Kondengui Central Prison in Yaoundé, the Cameroonian capital, where conditions are extremely poor. Meyomesse suffers from several medical conditions brought on by his treatment in prison, including a debilitating eye condition and a gastrointestinal infection. PEN International believes that the charges against Meyomesse are politically motivated and that his imprisonment is linked to his writings critical of the government and his political activism and thus calls for his immediate and unconditional release.
Arrested on 22 November 2011 at Nsimalen International Airport in Yaoundé on the return leg of a trip to Singapore, Meyomesse was charged, alongside three other men, with 1) attempting to organise a coup 2) possessing a firearm 3) aggravated theft. The day after his arrest, Meyomesse was sent to a prison in Bertoua (Eastern Province), where he was held in solitary confinement – and complete darkness – for 30 days.
On 27 December 2012, having already spent 13 months in prison, Meyomesse was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment and fined 200,000 CFA (approx. US$418) for supposed complicity in the theft and illegal sale of gold. His three co-defendants were reportedly sentenced to terms of between two and nine years in prison. No witnesses or evidence were presented during the trial, and he was not allowed to testify in his own defence. According to Meyomesse, he was sentenced “without any proof of wrong-doing on my part, without any witnesses, without any complainants, and more than that, after having been tortured during 30 days by an officer of the military.”
It has now been 15 months since Meyomesse’s lawyers succeeded in having his case referred to a civil court for appeal.
Enoh Meyomesse was the recipient of the 2012 Oxfam Novib/PEN Free Expression Award.
Protest the conviction of writer and activist Enoh Meyomesse on politically motivated charges and the seven-year prison sentence handed down to him on 27 December 2012;
Express concern for reports of Enoh Meyomesse’s ill-health and urge the authorities to afford him all necessary medical care;
Call on the Cameroonian authorities to quash the conviction and to release Meyomesse immediately and unconditionally.
Ms Brit Bildøen
Chair of Writers in Prison Committee
COPY: The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs