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Journalist investigating corruption detained, threatened

(JED/IFEX) - JED condemns the detention and mistreatment of a journalist in Yaoundé, the capital city, by agents of the State Secretariat for Defence (Secrétariat d'Etat à la Défense, SED) while she was investigating a case of misappropriation of funds.

According to information obtained by JED, Nadège Christelle Bowa, a journalist with the Yaoundé-based daily "Le Messager," was kept in custody on 17 January 2010 for nearly two hours at the SED after being thoroughly searched and submitted to a harsh interrogation including threats against her. Her documents and reporter's notes were seized.

Bowa told JED that she went to the SED to meet Thierry Michel Atangana, a former secretary-general of the presidency, who was detained there for misappropriating public funds. The journalist was trying to get Atangana to confirm information contained in a document in her possession.

When she tried to retrieve her identity card after meeting Antangana, Bowa was detained by officers and taken to the judicial investigations branch.

JED considers this detention to be an act of intimidation against journalists and media outlets who take an interest in "Operation Sparrowhawk," which was put in place by the government to fight corruption. JED urges the security service to unconditionally return the documents and notes that were confiscated so as not to impede the work of journalists.

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