Cameroon: Freemuse visits Lapiro in prison




Freemuse visits Lapiro in prison

After years of international campaigning, Freemuse finally managed to have a personal meeting with the musician Lapiro de Mbanga who has been imprisoned in Cameroon since 2008.

Freemuse Programme Officer Martin Buch Larsen recounts that it was an intimidating affair to walk the prison yard of New Bell Prison in Doula and experience the state of thousands of desperate prisoners. Desperate prisoners, of whom 70 per cent are awaiting their trials, but here there is no separation of the accused and the condemned.

As Freemuse staff and local partners passed the prision yard, the desperation peaked as prisoners reached out their hands through the iron bars in the hope for gifts, money or mercy.

Still fit for fight
On a more positive note, Lapiro looked like he was in good condition. Even grotesque prison conditions, several attacks of typhoid and severe back pains, not to mention endless court hearings seem to have affected his good mood.

Lapiro is set to be released on 9 April 2011, a much awaited day for himself, his family and fans all over Cameroon

Strong ties to local partners
Apart from witnessing the gruesome state of Cameroon’s prison conditions, the visit also provided Freemuse with an opportunity to strengthen its partnership with local organisations and individuals who will take part in supporting persecuted musicians in the region.

During the visit, Freemuse visited several human rights organisations, lawyers, media houses and cultural activist to discuss the possibilities of continued support and campaigns for persecuted musicians and artists.

Read more: Lapiro receives award on Music Freedom Day

Click to read more about Lapiro on
Lapiro de Mbanga

Click to read more about Cameroon on

Go to top
Related reading on