Cameroun: Musician Lapiro de Mbanga faces new trial


CAMPAIGN NEWS

11 February 2009


Cameroon:
Musician Lapiro de Mbanga faces new trial

The government of Cameroon is being accused of severe violations of human rights as the musician Lapiro de Mbanga is confronted with a new trial on absurd charges that it was a song of his that led to the destruction of a banana plantation.

Can a song make workers destroy a banana plantation? The popular Cameroonian musician Pierre Roger Lambo Sandjo, better known as Lapiro de Mbanga, is facing a new trial on 20 March 2009, where the government, represented by the Ministry of Finance, claims that one of Lapiro’s songs, ‘Constitutional Constipation’, was inciting employees of a banana plantation in Lapiro’s hometown to destroy the banana plantations.

According to the charges the total damages were estimated to 300,000 euros — an astronomic sum that the government claims Lapiro de Mbanga resonsible to pay.

Three year jail sentence
The artist was initially detained on 9 April 2008 on claims that he instigated youths during the February nationwide strike and campaign campaign to demand that president Paul Biya resign from power. Lapiro de Manga was later sentenced three years in jail.

Lapiro de Mbangas health has gradually deteriorated in the overcrowded prison. Sharing a cell with 50 prisoners, he is not allowed any physical activities. The food is insufficient and of poor quality, and the sanitary conditions are very bad.

International criticism
The trial is taking place on the background on massive international criticism of the repressions of the current regime.

In January 2009, the human rights organisation Amnesty International published a report which accused the government of gross violations spanning more than ten years — including killings and torture. The catalogue of abuses revealed in the Amnesty report mainly involves repression of political dissent and describes the appalling situations of prisoners.

“Political opposition is not tolerated in Cameroon,’ said Tawanda Hondora, Amnesty International’s deputy director for Africa. “Any dissent is suppressed through either violence or abuse of the legal system to silence critics. Unfair trials, intimidation and harassment, including death threats, are routinely used by the authorities to quash criticism from politicians, human rights defenders and journalists,” told Tawanda Hondora.

Unfair trial
The international community and supporters of Lapiro de Mbanga are worried that once again the popular musician and defender of freedom of expression will face an unfair trial.

Freemuse, International PEN, Lapiro’s guitar provider Vigier Guitars, and others, have launched campaigns in support of Lapiro de Mbanga. When in 2008 he was taken in handcuffs to the courtroom, he was greeted by a crowd wearing Freemuse t-shirts and demanding his freedom.



Click to read more about Lapiro de Mbanga on freemuse.org
Lapiro de Mbanga


Click to read more about music censorship in Cameroon
Cameroon


Read more on the internet

Cameroon-info – 28 January 2009:

‘Affaire Lapiro : Que cherche le ministère des Finances?’

Amnesty International – 29 January 2009:

‘Cameroon: A catalogue of human rights abuses’

The PostNewsline.com / AllAfrica.com – 7 July 2008:

‘Cameroon: Lapiro De Mbanga Sick in Prison’


Protests and appeals:

International PEN Appeal
Freemuse Appeal
Vigier Guitars



Lapiro de Mbanga: ‘Prison’ – video on YouTube





Go to top
Related reading on freemuse.org


Cameroon/Russia: The artist vs. the state
Video clip of the session ‘THE ARTIST VS. THE STATE: THE CASE OF LAPIRO DE MBANGA AND THE CAMPAIGN FOR PUSSY RIOT’ at the conference ‘All that is Banned is desired’.
14 December 2012
Cameroon: Petition for musicians
LabourStart has launched an online campaign in defense of the hundreds of members of the Musicians Union of Cameroon who were savagely attacked by police
22 November 2012
Cameroon: Musicians’ demonstration met with violence and arrests
500 musicians who wanted to protest against the way royalties are being distributed in the country were met with tear gas and violence from more than 1,000 policemen
15 November 2012
Cameroon: Singer Lapiro de Mbanga gets asylum in the US
Lapiro de Mbanga, who was imprisoned in Cameroon for three years for a song criticizing President Biya, has been granted asylum in the USA.
13 September 2012
FN opfordrer Camerouns regering til at udbetale erstatning til Lapiro
FN opfordrer Camerouns regering til at udbetale erstatning til den kendte sanger Lapiro de Mbanga, der skrev en opsætsig sang og havnede i fængsel
17 February 2012
Press release: UN expert group: “Cameroon should compensate Lapiro”
The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has issued a legal opinion declaring that the detention of Lapiro de Mbanga was a violation of international law
16 February 2012
Cameroon: BBC radio interview with singer Joe la Conscience
“I am the most banned artist in Cameroon today. The radios are afraid to play my music,” Joe la Consience told BBC in August 2011.
17 August 2011
Cameroon: Lapiro back in court
Singer Lapiro de Mbanga has filed a case against the Chief Medical Officer of the Douala Central Prison for having denied him access to medical attention while in prison
20 June 2011
Cameroon: First video interview after Lapiro’s release from prison
On 8 May 2011 Freemuse recorded singer Lapiro de Mbanga’s first video interview since he was released from prison in Douala on 8 April after three years imprisonment
08 May 2011
Cameroun: Première interview avec Lapiro après la libération de prison
Le chanteur Lapiro de Mbanga a été interviewé sur le 8 mai 2011. C’est le première en video depuis son liberation de prison à Douala le 8 avril, après trois ans d’emprisonnement
08 May 2011
Press release: Singer Lapiro de Mbanga was released from New Bell Prison
Singer Lapiro de Mbanga was released from New Bell Prison in Douala on Friday 8 April 2011 at 2 pm after three years imprisonment under harsh conditions
08 April 2011
Cameroon: Singer Lapiro de Mbanga released from prison
Singer Lapiro de Mbanga was released from New Bell Prison in Douala on Friday 8 April 2011 at 2 pm after three years imprisonment under harsh conditions
08 April 2011
Cameroun: Sangeren Lapiro de Mbanga løsladt efter tre års fængsel
Sangeren Lapiro de Mbanga blev løsladt fra New Bell Prison i Douala fredag den 8. april 2011 kl 14 efter tre års fængsling under barske vilkår
08 April 2011
Cameroon: Lapiro appears at the Supreme Court
On Thursday 17 March 2011, the musician Lapiro de Mbanga was called to the Cameroon Supreme Court for what appeared to be superflous technicalities
24 March 2011
Cameroon: Freemuse visits Lapiro in prison
After years of international campaigning, Freemuse finally managed to have a personal meeting with Lapiro de Mbanga who has been imprisoned in Cameroon since 2008
17 March 2011
Cameroon: Lapiro receives award on Music Freedom Day
On Music Freedom Day, 3 March 2011, Freemuse visited Cameroon and handed over a much awaited award to the imprisoned singer Lapiro de Mbanga
09 March 2011
Music Freedom Day: Local ownership creates diversity of innovative events
Music Freedom Day 2011: An exiled DJ returns to Kabul, music is smuggled out from Burma, and Freemuse hands over an award to an imprisoned singer in Cameroon
09 March 2011
Radio Without Borders: Listen to the Banned
Here on Earth – Radio Without Borders, a one-hour live programme on Wisconsin Public Radio broadcasted a special feature programme about the album ‘Listen to the banned’
10 November 2010
Cameroon: Lapiro – behind bars in Cameroon, behind a mic in Brooklyn
Singer Lapiro de Mbanga joins by phone from jail in Cameroon as U.S. Afro-pop band performs his banned song live in New York
28 October 2010
Cameroon: Interview with singer Lapiro de Mbanga in ‘Smashed Hits 2.0’
In ‘Smashed Hits 2.0’, Cameroonian singer Lapiro de Mbanga gives an exclusive interview to Daniel Brown from prison on protest, politics and the art of satire
25 October 2010