Deportation of human rights?
Investigative journalist Charles Atangana fears to be sent back to Cameroon.
The fear of a deportation is undeniable. ”For me going back to Cameroon is a death sentence”, he said in an interview with The Herald.
In his last court appearance at 07/10/2010 his case was adjourned. He now is on bail and has to stay in different hostels for immigrants in London.
Charles Atangana is a respected investigative journalist. He exposed corruption within the government in Cameroon.
After the publication members of his family were arrested and tortured. Atangana also faced torture, being stripped, bullied and beaten. A sad reality for dissidents in a country with an extremely narrowed freedom of press.
Atangana saw no other way than to leave the country. In 2004 he fled from Cameroon with a fake passport. He managed to get to Glasgow, where he was living for six years.
In Glasgow, Charles Atangana integrated well to his new environment. He became a member of the National Union of Journalists(NUJ) and started to work as a volunteer for the Citizen Advice Bureau in Parkhead.
“We would fight tooth and nails to keep him in this country”
The NUJ immediately intervened when they learned about his arrest. Paul Holleran of the NUJ branch in Glasgow explains: ”I managed to send texts to him, telling we would fight tooth and nails to keep him in this country. We are campaigning, trying to keep him on a permanent basis.”
The efforts of the NUJ played a key role in his support and have been quite successful. Atangana is still in the country, with improved bail conditions. The NUJ provided evidences and witnesses for the case, highlighting the serious danger for critical journalists in Cameroon.
First the judges were denying a life-threatening scenario, but now the new evidence is taken into consideration. ”The level of political support has been quite phenomenal,” says Paul Holleran, ”that means that they are looking at the case in more depth, than they probably would normally.”
Case is not an exception
s case is not an exception in Cameroon. The authorities are keen to keep the status quo, even with force, against any form of dissidence.
A deportation of Charles Atangana would cause an outcry of journalists and human rights organisations. It is not only a question of the value of the democracy and press freedom in Cameroon, but also of our own democracy and our values of human rights.
Find out more! Here you can listen to an interview excerpt with Paul Holleran from the NUJ.
What do YOU think?