Police extend detention for writer Patrice Nganang

YAOUNDE, Cameroon – Celebrated Cameroonian author, poet and professor Patrice Nganang has had his custody extended by 48 hours, his lawyer said on Tuesday.

Nganang was arrested last week after visiting an Anglophone part of mainly French-speaking Cameroon, a day after publishing an opinion piece in French on the Jeune Afrique news site critical of President Paul Biya’s handling of the crisis in Cameroon’s restive anglophone regions.

His lawyer, Emmanuel Simh branded the detention of his client as “illegal” because the accused was not initially notified he was being placed in custody.

Simh added that Nganang would “in principle” appear before the prosecutor after his detention period expires.

Although the Cameroonian police say Nganang made an online death threat against President Paul Biya, Cameroon writers and human rights activists are calling for the immediate and unconditional release of the author.

PEN America tweeted, “The abduction and detention of Patrice Nganang, a Cameroonian-American writer, poet, and professor, demonstrates the high cost of #freeexpression and #pressfreedom in Cameroon. We call on authorities to release him unharmed immediately.”

According to sources, Nganang was in possession of two passports, one from Cameroon and one from the US when he was arrested.

Nganang currently teaches literature at New York University.

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