As journalist Mimi Mefo spends her second full day in detention at the Douala Central Prison in New Bell, calls have been multiplying from various quarters for Cameroonian authorities to drop any charges and free her.
The latest call comes from Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for the immediate and unconditional release of the Equinoxe TV presenter in connection with her coverage of a US missionary’s death in one of the country’s troubled English-speaking regions.
She is accused by authorities of spreading false news and violating the cyber-crime law and threatening state security after she was taken before military tribunal prosecutor Jackson Ahanda Yemego, who ordered her placed in preventive detention.
However, according to Reporters without Borders said Mefo’s lawyer, Alice Nkom, said that she had not yet received any documents from the military court about the charges brought against Mefo, but the possibility of a state security violation charge was mentioned when she was being interrogated.
“Paul Biya’s seventh term as Cameroon’s president has begun with a journalist’s clearly arbitrary arrest,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said.
“This is serious, because it manifestly violates the undertaking he gave to respect the constitution when sworn in on the day before the journalist’s arrest, and because it threatens all reporters in Cameroon. Coverage of the conflict between the central government and the English-speaking regions is an essential duty for journalists and does not in any way constitute a form of support for those involved in the conflict, or a criminal act deserving trial before military court. Mimi Mefo must be released immediately and unconditionally.”