Cameroonian President Paul Biya (L) and First Lady Chantal Biya wave to the crowd during the opening ceremony of the Africa Cup of Nations football tournament at Stade d'Olembé in Yaounde on January 9, 2022. CPJ joined a letter calling for the release of journalists and others arbitrarily detained in Cameroon. (AFP/Kenzo Tribouillard)

CPJ joins letter calling for release of journalists, others arbitrarily detained in Cameroon

The Committee to Protect Journalists on Thursday, February 3, joined 26 other civil society organizations in calling on President Paul Biya to release all those arbitrarily detained in Cameroon for acts of free expression, including at least four journalists.

The open letter, published during the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon, notes that the continent’s premier football tournament masks the reality that over 100 people have been detained, most for more than a year, and some for over five years, for simply “peacefully exercising their human rights.”

Journalists Thomas Awah Junior, Mancho Bibixy, Tsi Conrad, and Kingsley Fomunyuy Njoka are detained on anti-state charges in Yaounde’s overcrowded Kondengui Central Prison, as documented in CPJ’s annual census of jailed journalists around the world.

The organizations also urged Biya to reform the laws currently used to criminalize protest and public assembly, including the country’s controversial anti-terror law that is used to silence critics and suppress dissent, as documented in a 2017 special report by CPJ.

Read the letter in full in English and French.