Monday, April 18, 2011

Songwriter released

Cameroon - inter. desk Amsterdam - (WiPC/IFEX) - 11 April 2011 - The Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International welcomes the release of singer-songwriter Lapiro de Mbanga (real name: Pierre Roger Lambo Sandjo) on 8 April 2011. Mbanga was freed on completion of a three-year prison sentence for allegedly instigating anti-government riots. However, PEN believes that Mbanga, who is known as an outspoken critic of the Cameroonian government both as a songwriter and an opposition party member, was punished for his critical views, in violation of his right to freedom of expression.

The well known singer-songwriter was released from New Bell Prison in Douala. There were concerns that Mbanga would be detained beyond the expiry of his sentence due to the Cameroonian government's fear of how people would react to his release in the run-up to presidential elections due to take place in October 2011. Mbanga is a member of the opposition party Social Democratic Front (SDF). However, despite initial claims by the prison authorities that he was merely being transferred to another detention centre, Mbanga was released one day earlier than anticipated and returned to his home in Mbanga City.

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