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March 5, 2019

Mimi Mefo: This is the government’s deadly weapon against incarcerated journalists

The arrest of journalist Mimi Mefo yesterday Wednesday, November 07, puts the issue of freedom of expression on the agenda. The latter was transferred to Yaounde Central Prison for acts falling within the jurisdiction of the Military Tribunal, the “spread of false news” and “the attack on State security”. His crime: having announced on social networks that the Cameroonian military are behind the death of an American missionary.

The Act of 23 December 2014 on the suppression of acts of terrorism on the basis of which this journalist could be judged from next Monday has already been used in the context of trials against journalists. Especially with regard to cases of false news, apology for terrorism and non-denunciation of acts of terrorism.

This piece of legislation has been the subject of strong criticism of civil society and political parties of the opposition.They saw it as a door open to all kinds of abuse as the texts were not precise enough. Criticism was generally about the restriction of individual freedoms.

In Cameroon, several journalists have already fallen under the anti-terrorist law.These include Baba Wame, Rodrigue Tongue and Felix Ebole, Ahmed Ahmed Abba, Mancho Bibixy and Awah Thomas Junior. The last two have been sentenced to more than ten years in prison for acts of apology for terrorism, spreading false news electronically, among others.


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