Monday, March 25, 2019

Etoudí: the open letter of Reporter without Borders to Paul Biya

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is calling on the Cameroonian head of state to use his prerogatives so that journalist Amadou Vamoulké, who has been arbitrarily detained for more than two and a half years, will be released.

Read the full open letter:

Mr President,

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is asking for your intervention so that the journalist Amadou Vamoulké can find freedom. The former director general of Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV), who has led the country's major public media for eleven years, has been in custody for more than two and a half years for faults he has not committed.

Arrested on July 29, 2016 after a convocation to which he had voluntarily surrendered, he was charged with embezzlement, not for personal purposes, but allegedly for the sole benefit of CRTV.His trial in the Special Criminal Court (TCS), which opened a year later, was dismissed 17 times.

Most of these hearings lasted only a handful of minutes. In 32 months of proceedings, the prosecution has not provided any evidence of possible failures in the management of Amadou Vamoulké, suggesting that the journalist could pay for his independence. The maximum period of nine months provided for by the law establishing the TCS to try defendants has been exceeded for almost a year. Today, there is nothing to justify him being held in detention.

The information and testimonies obtained by our organization show, on the contrary, a deep commitment to ethics and the defense of quality independent journalism.Under his leadership, procedures were put in place to improve the transparency of the calls for applications and to avoid the award of nepotism contracts. The journalists who worked with him praised his professionalism and his editorial audacity to make CRTV a real public service media and to bring it to cover sensitive subjects that it was not used to dealing with.

Amadou Vamoulké is 69 years old and he does not deserve a retreat behind the bars of Kondengui Central Prison. Major of his promotion of the Higher School of journalism of Yaoundé, he was the first president of the Union of the journalists of Cameroon, a fervent militant of the opening of the audiovisual market of the information and the decriminalization of the crimes of press in his country. His commitment, vision and professionalism have made him a great figure of journalism in Cameroon and beyond. He is supported by many foreign journalists who have worked with him over the years.

Mr President, Amadou Vamoulké has nothing to do in prison. You were right to appoint him to head the CRTV in 2005. You would be right again to use your prerogatives to end his detention today.

I trust that you will give due consideration to our request and that a favorable outcome will be accorded to our request, I beg you to accept, Sir, the assurances of my highest consideration.