February 10, 2012

President Paul Biya
Fax: +237 22 22 08 70

Hon. Minister of Justice Amadou Ali

Ministry of Justice
Fax: +237 22 23 00 05
Prime Minister
Mr. Philemon Yang
Fax: +237 22 23 57 35

Your Excellencies,

On behalf of the 3,500 members of PEN American Center, an international organization of writers dedicated to protecting freedom of expression wherever it is threatened, we are writing to express our relief that the coup charges against Enoh Meyomesse have been dropped, but remain concerned that he still faces charges before a military tribunal.

According to our information, by late January, Enoh Meyomesse, a writer and a founding member of the Cameroon Writers Association, was no longer charged with attempting to organize a coup, but still faced charges of armed robbery. Meyomesse currently remains detained at the overcrowded Kondengui Central Prison in Yaoundé, where he will be held for at least six months while the government conducts its investigation. Meyomesse denies all charges and maintains that he is being held because of his political activism and views expressed in his writings. There are concerns that the evidence being used against Meyomesse has been fabricated, and that Meyomesse will be tried before a military court.

Enoh Meyomesse was arrested on November 22, 2011, at Nsimalen International Airport in Yaoundé upon his return from a trip to Singapore. On December 22, 2011, a month after his arrest, he was moved from a prison in Bertoua (Eastern Province), where he was held in solitary confinement and total darkness for 30 days, to Kondengui Central Prison. Meyomesse has been denied access to his lawyer, who has stated that he has been denied access to the full facts of the case against his client.

Meyomesse, 57, has published more than 15 books on political and cultural themes, including Le massacre de Messa en 1955 and the tract Discours sur le tribalisme. He had his passport seized in January 2011 while trying to leave Cameroon to report on the political standoff in Cote d’Ivoire. He also attempted to run as a presidential candidate in the October 9, 2011 election, but was denied registration.

PEN American Center is seriously concerned that Enoh Meyomesse still faces a military tribunal on charges of armed robbery, which he denies. His ill-treatment in detention violates the United Nations’ Convention Against Torture and Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and the denial of access to his lawyer stands in violation of Articles 9 and 14 of the ICCPR. We therefore call on authorities to conduct a fair and open trial in a civilian court, to grant Meyomesse access to his lawyers, and to investigate all allegations of torture.

Thank you for your consideration of this crucial matter.

Hannah Pakula
Chair, Freedom to Write Committee

Larry Siems
Director, Freedom to Write and International Programs

CC: H.E. Joseph Charles Bienvenu Foe-Atangana
Ambassador of the Republic of Cameroon to the U.S.
Embassy of the Republic of Cameroon
1700 Wisconsin Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20007
Fax: (202) 387-3826

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