On January 7, 2009, a judge in the commercial city of Douala sentenced Medjo, editor of the weekly tabloid La Détente Libre, to three years in prison and a fine of 2 million CFA francs (US$4,500) on charges of publishing false news, according to local journalists and news reports. Medjo was being held at Douala’s New Bell Prison.
Medjo was arrested in September 2008 in connection with a column incorrectly speculating that President Paul Biya had fired Alexis Dipanda Mouelle, president of the Supreme Court, according to the same sources. The story was based on a presidential decree that did not extend Mouelle’s term, according to Editor-in-Chief Michée Medjo Gatheu.
While in detention, Medjo suffered heart trouble, and a doctor at Douala’s Laquintinie Hospital diagnosed him with a severe ear infection, according to Gatheu. Medjo was seeking medical parole in late year.