Patrice Nganang is expected before the public prosecutor today Monday after being accused of threats and using 'unacceptable language on President Biya.' The writer and lecturer was arrested in Douala on December 6, according to his lawyer. He was interrogated for about five hours on Saturday by six investigators and the head of the judicial police in Yaoundé. The outspoken author is accused of threatening to fire a bullet into Biya's skull on Facebook. The charges also include the use of 'inappropriate language' concerning the president of La Republique. Patrice is being defended by a lawyer and a group created to that effect, it is reported.
At a hearing with the judiciary police on Saturday, Patrice Nganang was informed of the charges being levelled against him.
Patrice had just returned from the Anglophone region of the country which is currently experiencing a year long crisis following protests in the region against its cultural, political and economic marginalization. The government’s draconian response has included mass arrests, an internet shutdown and the excessive use of force which according to Amnesty International has resulted in more than 200 people being unlawfully killed by security forces. In the few days that Nganang spent in the region, he witnessed first hand the impact of the government’s heavy-handedness in dealing with the Anglophone minority, and he was deeply moved and angered by the injustice of what he saw.
In an article published in Jeune Afrique on 5 December, Patrice, who is a long-time vocal critic of the Biya regime, wrote: “It will probably require another political regime to make the state understand that the machine gun cannot stem a moving crowd. Only change at the top of the state can resolve the Anglophone conflict in Cameroon.”
At Saturday’s hearing, Patrice’s lawyer Emmanuel Simh argued that that he did not represent a bona fide threat to the President because he has never possessed firearms or worked with any armed militias or terrorist groups and has a long history of peaceful activism promoting democracy.
Patrice’s lawyer, Mr. Simh, reports that his defence has been well received. However, today Monday 11 December, Patrice will be brought before a prosecutor who will then decide if this case will proceed.
IN THE INTERESTS OF FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND EXPRESSION, WE ASK YOU TO JOIN US AND THE COMMITTEE FOR THE LIBERATION OF NGANANG IN CALLING UPON THE PROSECUTOR TO DISMISS THE CASE AND ALLOW PATRICE TO LEAVE CAMEROON AND RETURN TO HIS FAMILY.
This statement was partly prepared by friends and family of Patrice.