Cameroon: call for translations of Enoh Meyomesse’s work

English PEN calls for multilingual translations of Enoh Meyomesse’s work as imprisoned poet’s rescheduled appeal hearing is delayed once again

English PEN is saddened to report that imprisoned Cameroonian poet Enoh Meyomesse’s appeal hearing has been postponed for the eight time since his case was first referred to a civil court for appeal in April 2013. The reason given for this delay is that it clashed with a public holiday in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Cameroon’s reunion. The appeal hearing has now been scheduled for 20 March. 

These ongoing delays mean that Meyomesse has now been behind bars for more than two years on what are widely believed to be trumped-up charges. As a result of the numerous postponements and additional months in prison, funds to cover his legal fees and daily needs – including food, medicine, family visits, and writing materials – are now dwindling.

To show our support for Meyomesse, English PEN invited our network of supporters to join us in working on a crowd-sourced translation of his first collection of prison poetry, Poème Carcéral: Poésie du pénitencier de KondenguiThe resulting anthology Jail Verse: Poems from Kondengui Prison is now available to print-on-demand. As well as amplifying a voice that the Cameroonian government has sought to silence, we are using the collection to raise funds to support Meyomesse and his family.

TAKE ACTION: translate, remix, tweet, read and share Meyomesse’s work

Ahead of World Poetry Day this Friday, 21 March, we are appealing to supporters to help us translate Meyomesse’s work into as many different languages as possible. If you are able to translate from English or French into another language, please consider translating one or more of his poems to help us ensure that his voice is heard as widely as possible. Please email your translations to cat@englishpen.org or post them in the comments box below.

Spread the word

If you are active on social media, please share information about Enoh Meyomesse’s case with your friends and contacts using the hashtag ‪#‎FreeEnoh. Please consider tweeting us @englishpen if you are translating Enoh’s work into a different language.

Send a message of support

If you would be interested in writing directly to Enoh Meyomesse, please email cat@englishpen.org for more details.

Send pens and notebooks

Since April 2013, Meyomesse has been denied access to the prison computer room, but continues to write prolifically by hand. He has requested that we send notebooks and pens to enable him to continue to do so. Email cat@englishpen.org for further information.

Write to the authorities

Please send appeals:

  • Protesting the conviction of writer and activist Enoh Meyomesse on charges of supposed complicity in the theft and illegal sale of gold, and the seven-year prison sentence handed down to him on 27 December 2012;
  • Noting that PEN believes the case against him is politically motivated;
  • Calling on the Cameroonian authorities to do all they can to ensure that the appeal hearing scheduled for 20 March 2014 goes ahead;
  • Urging the authorities to quash the conviction and to release Meyomesse immediately and unconditionally.

Write to:

His Excellency Mr. Nkwelle Ekaney
Cameroon High Commission
84 Holland Park
London
W11 3SB
Fax: 020 7792 0608
Email: info@cameroonhighcommission.co.uk

Or you could use the form below.  A sample letter is provided but it is always better if you put the appeal in your own words.

[ecampaign ‘to=info@cameroonhighcommission.co.uk’ subject=”Free Enoh Meyomesse”]

Your Excellency

I am writing to you as a supporter of English PEN, the founding centre of the international association of writers, to protest the ongoing imprisonment of writer and activist Enoh Meyomesse.

According to PEN’s information, on 27 December 2012 writer Enoh Meyomesse was sentenced to seven years in prison on charges that are widely believed to be politically motivated. He had already been detained for 13 months prior to this conviction, despite all previous charges against him having been dropped in June 2012.

Enoh Meyomesse continues to be held in the over-crowded Kondengui Central Prison in Yaoundé where he has reportedly been held in solitary confinement and subject to torture. There are widespread concerns for his health and well-being.

In April 2013, it was reported that Meyomesse’s lawyers had succeeded in having his case referred to a civil court for appeal. His appeal was expected to be called to the Courts of Appeal for the first time on 20 June, but was postponed until 18 July. A further seven hearings have since been postponed, and the appeal is finally expected to take place on 20 March.

I respectfully call on the Cameroonian authorities to do all in their power to ensure that Meyomesse’s appeal hearing goes ahead as scheduled, that the conviction is quashed, and that he is released immediately and unconditionally.

I would welcome your comments on my appeal.

Yours sincerely,

[/ecampaign]

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