Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Cameroon: Journalist arrested after questioning authorities

Since pro-democracy demonstrations erupted in North Africa and the Middle East earlier this year, the authorities of a 28-year old regime in Cameroon have been on alert and ready to stifle any Egypt-style uprising. On 23 February, government forces ruthlessly clamped down on a small group of peaceful protesters in Cameroon's economic capital. This brutal crackdown was closely followed by the suspension of twitter-mobile - an instrumental tool in the fight for democracy and human rights around the world. More recently, state agents reportedly arrested two employees of Pamol Plantations Plc, a palm oil producing company, as the employees transported 150 youths from the North region to work in palm tree plantations in the southwest region of Cameroon (perhaps the authorities thought the youths were being transported to "Tahrir" square to demand the removal to the regime). The [arbitrary] arrest of two employees of Pamol led to the arrest of a local journalist - after questioning the authorities about arrests.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Lamissia Adolarc, a Cameroonian journalist based in Ngaoundere, capital of the Adamawa region of Cameroon, was arrested on 30 March 2011 on the orders of the governor of Adamawa - Enow Abraham Egbe. Adolarc was arrested for inquiring about the arrest of two Pamol employees accused of "fomenting a rebellion against the government."

It is no secret that events in the Arab world and North Africa have put longstanding repressive regimes on edge. But rather than arrest unsuspecting citizens in a bid to silence dissenters and stifle possible calls for democracy and respect for human rights, regimes with poor human rights records should implement reforms and respect the fundamental freedoms of all citizens.

The arrest of a journalist for doing his job is unnecessary and has no place in a free society.

CPJ has called for the immediate release of detained Lamissia Adolarc.

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