[Cameroon] Seven-year sentence confirmed for Enoh Meyomesse, winner of Oxfam Novib / PEN Freedom of Expression Award 2012

English PEN and the Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International protest in the strongest possible terms the seven-year prison sentence handed down to writer and activist Enoh Meyomesse on 27 December 2012, more than a year after his arrest. PEN believes Meyomesse’s conviction on charges of supposed complicity in the theft and illegal sale of gold to be politically motivated and calls on the Cameroonian authorities to quash the conviction and to release him immediately and unconditionally. Today it is announced that Meyomesse is to be honoured with an Oxfam Novib / PEN Freedom of Expression Award.

On 27 December 2012 the writer, historian and political activist Enoh Meyomesse was sentenced to seven years in prison and a fine of 200,000 CFA (£247), as requested by the state prosecutor. The sentencing follows Meyomesse’s conviction on 14 December of supposed complicity in the theft and illegal sale of gold. The writer had already spent 13 months in prison before being sentenced. PEN believes his detention and the charges to be politically motivated.

Today, 8 January, Meyomesse is named as a recipient of an Oxfam Novib / PEN Freedom of Expression Award, which will be presented in his absence at a ceremony during The Writers Unlimited Winternachten Festival in The Hague on 17 January 2013. Here is an excerpt from his acceptance speech:

‘Rulers use the most ideal and least threatening alibi for them, the accusation of having committed a common crime, to silence us, dissidents, a situation similar to what happened during the Cold War in Eastern European dictatorships, in the Greece of colonels, in Portugal under the dictatorship of Salazar, in Spain under Franco.

‘Luckily, you, people from the North, souls of good will from Western countries where democracy is truly established, stand resolutely on our side. In doing so you prove that people’s freedom and solidarity does not know boundaries.

‘In presenting this award to the wretched writer that I am, captive in the depths of a Cameroonian jail, you have joined your powerful voice to mine and to that of the many anonymous men and women who are incarcerated in my country because their opinion has not pleased some high-ranking officials in the state apparatus who therefore used judges to unleash their vengeance against them.’

(Translation by Patrice Nganang)

For more information, see these appeals on Meyomesse’s behalf by PEN America and English PEN.

For more information about the Oxfam Novib / PEN Freedom of Expression Award, click here.

TAKE ACTION

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 to be politically motivated and that Meyomesse is the recipient of an Oxfam Novib / PEN Freedom of Expression Award 2012;
  • Calling on the Cameroonian authorities to quash the conviction and to release Meyomesse immediately and unconditionally.

Write to:

President
President Paul Biya
Fax: +237 22 22 08 70
Email: cellcom@prc.cm or contact@presidenceducameroun.com

Minister of Justice
Hon. Minister of Justice Laurent Esso
Ministry of Justice
Yaoundé
Cameroon
Fax: +237 22 23 00 05

Prime Minister
Mr. Philemon Yang, Prime Minister
Fax: +237 22 23 57 35
Email: spm@spm.gov.cm

Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Cameroon in your country if possible.

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

Send a message of support

Send a message of support directly to Enoh Meyomesse and other Writers at Risk of concern to PEN as part of this year’s Season’s Greetings initiative.

Read and translate his poetry

Enoh Meyomesse evokes his experience of prison in a recently published collection of poetry written while behind bars, Poème carcéral: Poésie du pénitencier de Kondengui.  If you are interested in volunteering to help to translate Enoh’s poems from the original French, please email cat@englishpen.org for more details.

Désespoir
tu m’as visité ce jour-là
et une nuit noire sans étoile sans rayon de lune
sans luciole sans devenir sans rien
à couper à la machette comme celle-là où mes pas s’étaient égarés derrière la case du village
ô Dieu du ciel
une nuit
                     d’encre
s’était abattue sur moi
et toi ô terre
                      oui toi ô terre
                             tu avais cessé
                                   de tourner

About Cat Lucas

Cat Lucas is English PEN's Writers at Risk Programme Manager

View all posts by Cat Lucas →

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