Cameroon’s Minister of Communication, Issa Tchiroma Bakary has reacted to Patrice Nganang’s arrest.
On his Twitter page he explained that “in our country, committed literature does not entitle anyone to trample on the dignity and honour of anybody. “
A Cameroonian-American professor from New York’s Stony Brook University is in court this week after criticising the Cameroonian government.
The friends and family of the writer Patrice Nganang are calling for public support for his release following his detention last Thursday at the Douala International airport as he was about to leave Cameroon for Zimbabwe.
Nganang and his attorney were informed of the charges against him at a hearing with judiciary police and were told the charges include accusations of insulting Cameroon President Paul Biya and issuing a death threat.
Biya, was criticised by Nganang for the way he has handled an Anglophone secessionist movement in some English-speaking areas of the country.
There have been serious clashes between English-speaking Cameroonians and the security forces over the last few months over claims by the former that they are marginalised and discriminated against by the government.
These clashes have left injuries, mass migration and death on both sides and many protesting English-speakers have been arrested.
Nganang was arrested shortly after writing his article criticising Biya on a French magazine, Jeune Afrique.
The professor’s lawyer said at his judiciary hearing on Saturday that the writer presented no threat because he was a non-violent, peaceful activist and had no connection to armed groups.
It is now up to the prosecutor to decide what happens next.
However, Nganang’s supporters in the US have called for an outpouring of support for him.
The steps they want taken include calling the Cameroon embassy to demand his release; getting in touch with the US Department of State and federal elected officials; reaching out to advocates like Amnesty International or the Committee to Protect Journalists; and spreading the campaign through social media.