Cameroon Human Rights: Cameroon Writer’s Condition Worsens
Yaounde, Cameroon Africa. (Cameroon News) – Cameroon Human Rights: Health condition of Cameroonian author Bernard Teyou who has been suffering from ill health due to the poor and unhygienic conditions in prison has worsened.
Cameroonian author Bernard Teyou who was jailed for having published a controversial book about the Pesident’s wife and then tried to arrange a public reading of the controversial passages had been serving a prison sentence when his health took a turn for the worse.
Reports state that his condition has taken a turn for the worse owing to excessive crowding in the prison, lack of proper diet and delayed access to proper medical care, Amnesty International said today.
“Bernard Teyou’s health is rapidly deteriorating because of unacceptable conditions at New Bell Prison,” said Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Africa, Tawanda Hondora.
“The charges against him are spurious at best, and he should be immediately and unconditionally released, but barring that the prison authorities must give him proper food and access to medical care.”
Security forces took author Bernard Zepherin Teyou under custody while he was trying to organize a reading of the scandalous passages of his book about the life of the President Paul Biya’s wife Chantal Biya in a hotel in Douala on 3 November 2010.
The reading had been arranged during his attempt to launch the book that he had authored about President Paul Biya’s wife, Chantal Biya.
The book, La Belle de la République bananière: Chantal Biya, de la rue au palais (The Banana Republic’s Beauty: Chantal Biya, from the street to the palace), is about her life that started off in the streets and how she went on to become the most powerful lady of Cameroon- the First Lady.
On 10 November 2010, Cameroon’s High Court judged Teyou guilty of charges of “contempt of a personality” and” unlawful assembly”, in spite of the fact that he had offered prior intimation to the Cameroonian authorities about the launch .
Teyou was unable to remit the fine of 2,030,150 million CFA francs (approximately $4,425 US) and was instead handed over a prison sentence of two years’ in Douala’s central New Bell Prison.
On 15 February 2011, Teyou started off a hunger strike to voice his protest against the dismal conditions in the jail. It took quite a lot of time and effort for his family to convince him to back out of the strike by when his health had already deteriorated.
Teyou says that the prison officials had stated that he could get medical treatment from outside only when and if he can afford to fund for it.
He was found to be suffering from heavy bleeding and has been diagnosed with acute hemorrhoids, which had supposedly worsened because of the poor and improper diet that was given to him in prison.
“When Amnesty International visited New Bell Prison last August, the conditions we found were appalling,” said Tawanda Hondora.
“Prisoners are held in an overcrowded and life-threatening environment – some are held in leg irons – where access to proper food and medical care is sorely lacking.
“Prison guards are poorly trained and ill-equipped to deal with the number of prisoners, a situation leading to frequent disturbances and escape attempts, some of which are deadly.”
In August 2010, New Bell Prison was accommodating more than an appalling 2,453 prisoners with just an official capacity of 700.
Many of the prisoners were in pre-trial custody and were in detention together with convicted prisoners.
It is not the first time that a journalist or a writer has been imprisoned in Cameroon for bravely speaking out the truth.
Neither is this the first time that prisoners have got close to death because of the appalling conditions in prisons.
But the shocking fact still remains true that no action has been taken as yet.Pin It