According to the Associated Press, a Stony Brook University professor has been detained in Cameroon after the publication of an essay that allegedly criticized President Paul Biya's response to the demonstrations and pleas of the country’s English-speaking minority population for self-determination.
Patrice Nganang, 47, who teaches in the university's Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature Department in New York, was taken into custody by authorities on December 7, 2017 as he tried to leave Cameroon.
U.S. officials said they are looking into the issue. “We are aware of reports of the arrest of a U.S. citizen in Cameroon,” said a State Department official.
Stony Brook President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. said university officials “are working around the clock with the appropriate authorities and elected U.S. representatives to help facilitate the safe return of Professor Nganang.”
According to media reports, Nganang wrote unfavorably of Biya’s handling of a yearlong crisis in the country’s English-speaking regions, where residents have said they want autonomy from the rest of the mostly French-speaking country to escape decades of unfair treatment.
Nganang, who resides in New Jersey, has been teaching in the United States since 2000. He has published 12 books, scholarly essays, novels, and books of poetry.
Endangered Scholars Worldwide deplores and condemns the detention and persecution of Patrice Nganang and calls upon all international organizations, academic and professional associations, and other groups and individuals devoted to the promotion and defense of human rights to protest and condemn this arbitrary incarceration; to call for his immediate and unconditional release; and to urge the officials of the Cameroonian government to respect, guarantee, and implement the provisions and principles of human rights as specified in international conventions and treaties in accordance with Cameroon’s obligations under international law.
Please send appeals to the following:
His Excellency Paul Biya
President of the Republic of Cameroon
P.O. Box 100
Republic of Cameroon
Dr. Chemuta Divine Banda, Chairman
National Commission on Human Rights
Republic of Cameroon
Phone: +237 22 22 61 17
Fax: +237 22 22 60 82