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Cameroon10 November 2008

Jailed newspaper publisher’s trial delayed again, this time until January

Detained newspaper publisher Lewis Medjo’s trial was postponed until 2 January on procedural grounds when he was brought before a judge on 7 November. The judge said this second postponement was needed to give the plaintiffs - who have not yet been identified - time to obtain the necessary court orders.

This means Medjo, who was arrested on 22 September for “publishing false news,” will have spent 103 days in detention by the start of the trial, which was previously postponed on 3 October for Administrative reasons. He is the publisher of the privately-owned weekly La Détente.


3.10 - Publisher’s trial adjourned for another five weeks

Lewis Medjo, the newspaper publisher who has been detained since 22 September, appeared this morning before a judge in the western city of Douala, who adjourned his case until 7 November for “administrative reasons” to do with his civil status.

A local journalist said no charge or complaint has so far been produced against Medjo before a court. This means that the public prosecutor, who ordered his arrest and then ordered his transfer to prison, will not now have to present the charges for another five weeks.

Medjo is the publisher of the privately-owned Détente Libre weekly.


30.09 - Newspaper publisher transferred to New Bell prison

Lewis Medjo, the publisher of the privately-owned Détente Libre weekly, was transferred yesterday morning to New Bell prison near the western city of Douala following his appearance before a public prosecutor in the Douala district of Wouri on 26 September, when a formal order for his detention was issued.

He is now due to appear before an investigating judge on 3 October to be formally charged. Local journalists think the charge will be publishing false information.


24.09 - Douala-based newspaper publisher held for past two days

Reporters Without Borders condemns the detention of journalist Lewis Medjo for the past two days in the western city of Douala. The publisher of the Douala-based Détente Libre weekly, Medjo was arrested by the head of the local plain-clothes police as he left a dinner in a Douala hotel on the evening of 22 September.

“This journalist has no place being in police custody and should be released,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Like any citizen, Medjo, as a newspaper publisher, may well have a case to answer as regards what his newspaper published. But Cameroonian law does not offer a fair and appropriate way of dealing with this kind of problem, preferring police raids carried out at the behest of powerful men.”

Medjo was arrested by provincial plain-clothes police chief Vincent Minkoa Nga outside the Akwa Palace Hotel at around 11 p.m., after attending a dinner organised by the central government’s representative for Douala urban community. He was taken to plain-clothes police headquarters in Douala and is still being held there.

Local journalists told Reporters Without Borders they thought Medjo would be charged with publishing false information. He was reportedly questioned about two articles in the newspaper’s 14 August issue. One claimed that President Paul Biya was going to force supreme court president Dipanda Mouelle, a loyal ally, to stand down next year.

The other article claimed that the head of the national police criminal investigation department, Edgar Alain Mebe Ngo’o, had seized the passport of wealthy businessman Victor Fotso’s son and, through an intermediary, was trying to get Fotso to pay a large sum of money for its return.



In this country
9 January - Cameroon
Call for release on bail of editor Lewis Medjo who has been sentenced to three years in jail
10 June - Cameroon
Six journalists briefly arrested and TV programme interrupted for referring to sensitive subject
29 February - Cameroon
Private radio suspended, independent newspapers prevented from appearing
22 February - Cameroon
Communication minister suspends TV station
20 February - Cameroon
Two newspaper journalists freed after being held for five days

in the annual report
Cameroon - Annual Report 2007
Cameroon - Annual report 2006

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reports
18 March 2009 - Democratic Republic of Congo
“Bukavu, murder city”: investigation report into murders of journalists in the capital of Sud-Kivu
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Naizghi Kiflu, the dictatorship’s eminence grise
6 March 2008 - Kenya
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Eritrea
Sign the petition for the release of ten Eritrean journalists