Cameroon: Arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Mr. Alain Patrice Nganang

18/12/2017
Urgent Appeal
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CMR 003 / 1217 / OBS 118
Arbitrary detention /
Judicial harassment
Cameroon
December 18, 2017

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Cameroon.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by the Central Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (REDHAC) about the arbitrary detention as well as the judicial harassment of Mr. Alain Patrice Nganang, writer, who has been particularly vocal on the “Anglophone crisis” in Cameroon [1]. Residing in the US, he had returned to Cameroon on October 27, 2017, to support activists in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon and visited several political prisoners.

According to the information received, on December 15, 2017, after a fifteen minutes hearing before the tribunal de première instance du Centre administratif de Yaounde, Mr. Alain Nganang was formally charged with “contempt of a state constituent body” and “apology of violence”. He faces up to five years in prison. The next hearing is scheduled on December 19, 2017.

Mr. Alain Nganang has been detained since his arrest on December 6, 2017, while boarding a flight to Harare at Douala international airport. On December 14, 2017, Mr. Alain Nganang was transferred to Yaoundé’s central prison of Kondengui where he remains detained (see background information).

At the time of this publication, Mr. Alain Nganang was still denied family visit and attempts by human rights NGOs to visit him were denied by prison authorities.

The Observatory recalls that on December 5, 2017, Mr. Alain Nganang had published an op-ed in newspaper Jeune Afrique, denouncing Paul Biya’s government actions in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon [2].

The Observatory expresses its concerns over the arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Mr. Alain Nganang which appears to be a retaliation of his peaceful and legitimate human rights activities. Consequently, the Observatory urges Cameroonian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release him and in the meantime to guarantee his right to due process and fair trial.

Background information:

On December 6, 2017, at 10am Mr. Alain Nganang arrived at Douala international airport together with Mr. Gerald Kuissu to board a flight to Harare where he was supposed to visit his family and hold a series of conferences on the “Anglophone crisis”. As he was about to board his flight, Mr. Alain Nganang was questioned by security officers and later disembarked from the plane. He was later taken to a police station in Yaoundé. On December 7, 2017, Mrs. Nganang, who was waiting for Mr. Alain Nganang in Harare, called Mr. Gerald Kuissu to inform him that Mr. Alain Nganang had never arrived in Harare.

On December 7, 2017, Mr. Alain Nganang was notified of accusations of “offending the President in a Facebook post” pending against him.

Authorities confiscated the journalist’s phone and he was not granted access to legal counsel from December 6 to 8, 2017.

On December 9, 2017, Mr. Alain Nganang was presented to the criminal police for audition.

On December 11, 2017, was presented to the Public prosecutor in Yaoundé. The latter dropped the accusations of “offending the President in a Facebook post”. However, Mr. Alain Nganang was told to be facing charges of “illegal immigration” and “forgery”.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Cameroon and ask them to:

i. Immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Alain Nganang as well as all human rights defenders arbitrarily detained in Cameroonian;

ii. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Alain Nganang as well as against all human rights defenders in Cameroon;

iii. In the meantime, ensure that Mr. Alain Nganang has full and unhindered access to his family and lawyers and guarantee his right to due process and fair trial;

iv. Conform in any circumstances with the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the UN General Assembly, in particular its Articles 1, 6(c) and 12.2;

v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights instruments ratified by Cameroon.

Addresses:

· Mr. Paul Biya, President of the Republic of Cameroon, Fax +237 222 22 08 70
· H.E. Mr. Philémon Yang, Prime Minister and Head of Government of Cameroon, Fax: +237 222 23 57 35 / + 237 222 23 57 65. Email: spm@spm.gov.cm
· Mr. Laurent Esso, Minister of Justice of Cameroon, Fax: + 237 222 23 00 05 / + 237 222 23 55 59
· Mr. René Emmanuel SADI, Minister of Territorial Administration of Cameroon, Fax: + 237 22 22 37 35
· Dr. Chemuta Divine Banda President of the National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms, Fax: +237 222 22 60 82, E-mail: cndhl@iccnet.cm / mouangue2001@yahoo.fr
·H.E. Mr. Anatole Fabien Nkou, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Cameroon to the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland. Fax: + 41 22 736 21 65, Email: mission.cameroun@bluewin.ch
· H.E. Mr. Daniel Evina Abe’e, Cameroon Ambassador to the European Union, Embassy of the Republic of Cameroon, Brussels, Belgium. Fax: + 32 2 344 57 35; E-mail: ambassade.cameroun@skynet.be

Please also write to diplomatic representations of Cameroon in your respective countries.

***
Paris-Geneva, December 18, 2017

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, an FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of human rights defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu , the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
· Email: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
· Tel and fax FIDH: +33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / 01 43 55 18 80
· Tel and fax OMCT: + 41 22 809 49 39 / 41 22 809 49 29

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