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Cameroon19 June 2002

Pius Njawé recovers his passport

19.06.2002 - Pius Njawé recovers his passport

Pius Njawé, Managing Director of the Le Messager Press group, recovered his identity papers on 19 June. They had been seized by border police at the international airport of Douala. He was given no explanation.

17. 06.2002 - Journalist Pius Njawé’s passport confiscated

On 16 June 2002, border police at Douala International Airport in Cameroon confiscated journalist Pius Njawé’s identity papers. Njawé is director of Le Messager Press Group.

"Pius Njawé is once again the victim of harassment by the Cameroonian authorities. This measure constitutes a de facto travel ban, and is therefore a serious attack on press freedom and the free movement of persons," Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontieres) Secretary-General Robert Ménard said in a letter to Delegate General for National Security Minlo Medjo. Reporters Without Borders asked the authorities to return Njawé’s identity papers immediately.

According to information collected by Reporters Without Borders, Njawé returned to Cameroon on 16 June after a six-month stay in Great Britain. When he presented his papers at immigration, the border police officer took the documents and handed them over to the chief administrator of Douala Airport. The chief administrator refused to provide an explanation to Njawé, who then left the airport. The police confiscated the journalist’s passport, national identity card and driver’s licence.

Reporters Without Borders recalls that Njawé spent ten months in prison between December 1997 and October 1998. He was convicted of "spreading false information" after writing and publishing an article in "Le Messager" in which he stated that President Paul Biya had suffered heart trouble while attending the Cameroon Cup soccer final.

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