Cameroon: International lawyers support imprisoned singer Lapiro



International lawyers support imprisoned singer Lapiro

The case against singer Lapiro de Mbanga has gained increased international attention as Freedom Now, a US based lawyers’ advocacy organisation, is now officially monitoring his case.

In an interview with Radio France International in the first week of October 2009, Maran Turner, executive director of Freedom Now, said:

“Musicians [such as Lapiro] that decide to become politically active and utilize their music as a tool to voice dissent are in my mind nothing short of magic and exceptionally powerful and more meaningful to the people in Cameroon, than, I think, anything else.”

About Freedom Now
The mission of Freedom Now is “to free prisoners of conscience through focused legal, political, and public relations advocacy efforts.”

Václav Havel, former president of the Czech Republic and Desmond M. Tutu, archbishop emeritus of Cape Town are honorary co-chairs of Freedom Now. The organisation is currently involved in several campaigns, including a release petition for Burmese opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

Lapiro with typhoid fever
Freemuse has submitted substantial documentation of the case to Freedom Now. Freemuse executive director, Marie Korpe, says:

“This is a very important addition to the international campaigns for the release of Lapiro de Mbanga. The case against Lapiro shows how far a repressive regime will go in silencing oppositional voices and that they acknowledge and fear that music can be a very powerful tool for oppositional voices.”

Lapiro de Mbanga has — according to local sources — been suffering from effects of typhoid fever for several months. Freemuse recently succeeded in talking to Lapiro in the prison. He told Freemuse that the prison does not allow him to get sufficient medical aid from outside.

Last week his lawyers appealed to the Supreme Court that Lapiro is released on health grounds till his case comes up in the court (again) later this year.

International PEN focuses on Lapiro
The International PEN Writers in Prison Committees has decided to focus on Lapiro de Mbanga’s case on the Day of the Imprisoned Writer — as one of five cases which on 15 November 2009 will be commemorated for their courage and celebrated for their defence of freedom of expression. On this day, PEN members send appeals and organise a variety of events, honouring their imprisoned colleagues.

Click to read more about Lapiro de Mbanga's case

Click to sign petition
 Sign petition

Click to go to
 Freedom Now
 was founded
 in 2002

Click to read more about music censorship in Cameroon

Click to listen to Lapiro's banned song

International PEN:
‘Songwriter sentenced to three years’ imprisonment’

Click to go to International Pen's home page

Click to sign the petition online

Sign Freemuse petition for immidiate
release of Lapiro de Mbanga

Read and listen

Radio France International – 16 October 2009:
‘Campaign to free Cameroon singer Lapiro de Mbanga’

This RFI radio report by Daniel Brown includes interviews of Augustin and Maran, lawyers in Cameroon and the US who are working to have Lapiro released

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100 languages for Lapiro

Do you speak Corean, Polish, Basque, Mooré Swedish, Wolof or any other language? Then you can join a project on to help Lapiro de Mbanga.

During a number of weeks, musicians who use the MyMondomix network are working together to help Lapiro. They are preparing a compilation that will be distributed free of charge to all Internet users who sign a petition to have Lapiro liberated. The musicians have already come far and are working on the way this compilation should sound.

And that’s where they need your help. To create a transition from one song to another, they will use voices saying in different languages what the compilation is about. If you’d like to help the musicians, what you have to do is:

1. Translate into your language this sentence: »In Cameroon, the singer Lapiro is still imprisoned, because one of his songs was not well received by the authorities «.

2. Say this sentence as if you were a speaker giving news on a radio

3. Record yourself doing that

4. Send the recording as an mp3 file to the email-address:

About is an on-line service allowing our members to create unique personal profiles which can be connected through networks.

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