International PEN releases new protest campaign for Lapiro
|The Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN has launched a new protest campaign for the continuing imprisonment of singer-songwriter Lapiro de Mbanga in Cameroon.
In November 2009, Lapiro de Mbanga was one of five cases highlighted for the Writers in Prison Committee’s annual Day of the Imprisoned Writer. The same month, he was also awarded the Freedom to Create Imprisoned Artist Prize.
The Writers in Prison Committee has continuously been protesting the imprisonment of the songwriter and singer “whose final appeal has still not been heard despite having served more than two years in jail…” In April, the committee relased a press statement, saying that it believes that “Lapiro de Mbanga, an outspoken critic of the regime both as a musician and an opposition party member, is being punished for his critical views, in violation of his right to freedom of expression.”
In a new campaign alert email, International PEN and The Writers in Prison Committee writes:
Please send appeals immediately. (Check with International PEN if sending appeals after 21 June 2010)
• Protesting the continuing imprisonment of the singer-songwriter Lapiro de Mbanga (real name Pierre Roger Lambo Sandjo) and of journalist Lewis Medjo, both detained in 2008 and serving three-year prison sentences for, respectively, taking part in anti-government riots and “publishing false news”;
• Expressing the belief that that Mbanga and Medjo’s convictions stem from their critical writings – in Mbanga’s case from a song he wrote criticising controversial constitutional amendments – in violation of their right to freedom of expression (guaranteed by the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Cameroon is party);
• Expressing concern that Mbanga’s Supreme Court appeal has been subject to numerous delays and is still pending;Also expressing concern at reports that Mbanga and Medjo’s health have deteriorated due to poor prison conditions and that Medjo in particular reportedly has only limited access to medical treatment;
• Calling on the authorities to release both Mbanga and Medjo immediately and unconditionally.
Lapiro de Mbanga
International PEN – 21 April 2010:
‘Cameroon: Two years on, songwriter remains imprisoned’
The Post – 26 April 2010:
‘Lapiro’s Case To Be Tabled At UN’
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