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Journalist dies in detention

(RSF/IFEX) - 22 April 2010 - Reporters Without Borders today voiced its sadness and anger at the death overnight of Ngota Ngota Germain, editor of the weekly "Cameroun Express", who had been held in Kondengui jail in Yaoundé for nearly two months.

"The prison authorities knew that my husband was suffering from asthma and high blood pressure. They never gave him the medication he needed," his wife, Ngo'o Georgette, told the worldwide press freedom organisation.

"We had already expressed our concern to the Cameroon authorities about the health of Ngota Ngota Germain and his two colleagues, Serge Sabouang and Robert Mintya", the organisation said. "We now urge them to fully investigate the circumstances of this death and to act so that the dead man's colleagues, who are extremely fragile, physically and psychologically, do not end up succumbing to the same dreadful prison conditions."

The three editors were all placed in common cells holding 30 others, in which there were no beds or sanitary facilities. "I found the conditions in which my husband and his colleagues were being held were appalling when I visited," said Georgette. "My family, who are already struggling financially, had to pay for food and medicine," she added.

Reporters Without Borders called for the release of Sabouang, editor of the bi-monthly "La Nation", and Mintya, editor of the weekly "Le Devoir", who are being wrongly held in custody. "They should be freed while awaiting their trial," said the organisation.

Simon Hervé Ngo'o, the man allegedly responsible for the forgery case for which the three were imprisoned is currently on the run. The three editors were remanded in custody on 10 March 2010.

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