Jean-Louis N’Tadi

Jean-Louis N'TadiPlaywright Jean-Louis N’Tadi was born in 1964 in Congo-Brazzaville. A political activist with the main opposition party and a Red Cross humanitarian worker, he was dubiously charged by the government with “trafficking information” and defamation in connection with the disappearance of 400 refugees in 1999 during the civil war in Congo Brazzaville.


After his imprisonment, during which he was tortured, he went into hiding until he obtained a visa for the UK in December 2003. However, upon his arrival at Heathrow Airport in February 2004, he was refused asylum in the UK and sent to Oakington detention centre. Since then he has passed through five detention centres and seven different lawyers, and endured countless interviews and humiliation. He claims that he was beaten up by the British deportation officers.


N’Tadi is currently released on bail from Campsfield House immigration detention centre, awaiting the conclusion of his judicial review. He claims that he cannot return to Congo-Brazzaville because his “life is in danger and a search warrant has been issued against [him], which is why [his] entire family has been dispersed.”


His works include the play Le Chef de l’Etat, a parable highly critical of the presidency of Sassou-Nguesso which has been performed in various venues in Brazzaville, the plays Vendu, Verve d’une Creature and Monsieur le Maire which were destroyed by the Brazzaville security services, and L’Acte de Naissance, two volumes written during his detention at Campsfield. He has a wife and six children in Congo-Brazzaville.


The Writers in Prison Committee of English PEN considers Jean-Louis N’Tadi to be at risk of persecution in Congo-Brazzaville solely for the peaceful exercise of his profession. It therefore believes that he has a legitimate right to protection under the UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, to which the UK is a signatory.


To read International PEN’s resolution on N’Tadi please click here.


To read the WiPC’s letter to Charles Clarke MP please click here.  


N’Tadi’s new play Cries of the Cricket was performed on the London Eye on 21 June 2005 as part of a celebration of African culture in advance of the G8 summit in Scotland in July.


Please click here to read an article in the Guardian about the London Eye performances.


To read PEN member Terence Blacker’s article about N’Tadi in the Independent click here 


To read Trevor Mostyn’s interview with Ntadi, go to Interview with Ntadi



To read extracts from N’Tadi’s play Le Chef de l’Etat (Head of State), please click on the links below.

Act I, scene 1: A confrontation between the President and his son Babela

Act I, scene 2: The President and his advisors confer

Act I, scene 3: A startling letter from Babela

Act II, scene 1: The President’s wife and counsellors debate their course of action

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