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Douala-based newspaper publisher arrested and jailed

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders condemns the detention of journalist Lewis Medjo in the western city of Douala. The publisher of the Douala-based "Détente Libre" weekly, Medjo was arrested by the head of the judiciary police as he left a dinner in a Douala hotel on the evening of 22 September 2008.

"This journalist has no place being in police custody and should be released," Reporters Without Borders said. "Like any citizen, Medjo, as a newspaper publisher, must answer for what his newspaper publishes. But Cameroonian law does not offer a fair and appropriate way of dealing with this kind of problem, preferring police raids carried out at the behest of powerful men."

Medjo was arrested by provincial judiciary police chief Vincent Minkoa Nga outside the Akwa Palace Hotel at around 11 p.m. (local time), after attending a dinner organised by the central government representative for the greater Douala area. He was taken to judiciary police headquarters in Douala where he is still being held.

Local journalists told Reporters Without Borders they thought Medjo had been arrested for "publishing false information". He was reportedly questioned about two articles in the newspaper's 14 August issue. One claimed that President Paul Biya was going to force Supreme Court president Dipanda Mouelle, a loyal ally, to stand down next year.

The other article claimed that the head of the national police criminal investigation department, Edgar Alain Mebe Ngo'o, had seized the passport of wealthy businessman Victor Fotso's son and, through an intermediary, was trying to get Fotso to pay a large sum of money for its return.

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