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Cameroon, journalist, Help.

Please read and help. Thanks,


Charles Atangana is a journalist and asylum seeker from Cameroon who arrived in the UK in May 2004. A professional journalist and an active member of the Cameroon Journalists Trade Union (CJTU/SNJC), Charles was arrested by the Cameroonian authorities after he wrote several articles critical of them. In detention for forty days he was stripped naked and beaten. In Cameroon his wife has also been detained, stripped and beaten and shown an arrest warrant for Charles. However, his claim for asylum was turned down and he is due to be removed from the country on Monday 2nd of August at 8pm. He is currently held at Penine House in Manchester.


Here's some background on the human rights situation in Cameroon – US state Department Background Note from Febraury 5 2010 notes that

"Cameroon has a number of private newspapers, radio stations, and private television stations. Censorship was officially abolished in 1996, but the government has on occasion seized or suspended newspapers, radio stations, and television stations.


In recent years the harassment and arrests of journalists has increased. In February 2008, the government closed Magic FM radio, a Voice of America (VOA) affiliate, and confiscated its equipment, which included VOA transmission equipment, and shuttered Equinoxe Radio and Television after the three media outlets carried controversial reports and critical commentaries about Biya’s regime. In September 2009, the government shut down the Yaounde-based Sky One FM Radio station after the station refused to stop broadcasting its most popular program, Le Tribunal, which allowed listeners to air grievances and seek assistance in redressing outstanding issues with government entities. Journalists have been fired from their jobs allegedly for openly discussing the change of the constitution and criticizing the government. The government also banned a popular song on the radio about constitutional change.


Despite strong civil rights on the books, the government recurrently infringes upon rights and liberties in practice. Discrimination against women, homosexuals and indigenous peoples is pervasive. Criticism of the president, ranking officials or the government at large continues to be met by harassment and physical force by the government. Similarly, the rights to assemble and of association are often curtailed according to ideology and political alignment. The public’s ability to seek recourse from the courts remains minimal due to insufficient resources and physical access, and corruption. Government prisons are plagued by overcrowding, poor sanitation, and corruption by security forces. Reports of torture, excessive force, unlawful arrests and detention, and unlawful killings by police and security forces remain widespread. Forced labour and human trafficking are also chronic problems."


During his time in Glasgow, Charles has been a volunteer with the Citizens Advice Bureau, a member of the National Union of Journalists, a union activist and a member of the Maryhill Integration Network. Charles submitted fresh representations in December 2008 and the same month had his support stopped. Since then he has had to survive on the support of friends and supporters. He has been given removal directions for 20.00hrs on Flight KQ101 to Nairobi and then flight KQ524 to Yaounde in Cameroon. He is in great danger if he is forcibly returned to Cameroon. 


 He urgently needs your help.


Please take this urgent action NOW!


1. Please send the attached letters to Rt. Hon. Theresa May MP Secretary of State for the Home Office asking that Charles be granted protection in the UK. Download "Charles Atangana Minister" which you can copy / amend / write your own version (if you do so, please remember to include her HO Ref A12277296)

Fax: 020 8760 3132 (00 44 20 8760 3132 if you are faxing from outside UK


2. Email, fax and phone, Sam Okwulehie, Group Area Manager Kenya Airways

Urge him not to carry out the forced removal of Charles, and to consider the airline's reputation. A model letter letter is attached. You can copy, amend or write your own version – please quote Kenya Airways flight KQ101 Monday 2nd August 2010 at 20:00. Put as much pressure on this airline as you can, to make them consider if it's worth the hassle to continue as one of UKBA's deportation airlines.



Fax: 020 8745 5027  (Or from outside the UK + 44 20 8745 5027)

Phone: 020 8759 7366  (Or from outside the UK + 44 20 8759 7366)


Many thanks for your time. 


About Amnesty UK Blogs
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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