9 May 2011
The Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of PEN International welcomes the release of author Bertrand Teyou on 29 April 2011 after almost six months in prison for allegedly insulting the president’s wife in a book he published last year. Teyou was released on payment of a US$4,371 fine.
Teyou was detained on 3 November 2010, accused of ‘insulting’ President Biya’s wife in his 2010 book “La belle de la république bananière” : Chantal Biya, de la rue au palais (The Belle of the Banana Republic: Chantal Biya, From the Streets to the Palace), and of attempting to hold a public reading of the offending text. He was jailed after failing to pay 2,030,150 CFA (US$4,371) in fines and costs imposed on 19 November at the end of a summary trial, in which he had no legal representation.
Teyou was freed from New Bell prison in Douala on 19 April 2011 after a well-wisher paid the fine in full. His conviction for ‘insult to character’ and organising an ‘illegal demonstration’ has reportedly been lifted. He is now receiving medical treatment for health problems linked to a poor diet in prison, including severe bleeding from haemorrhoids.
Writers in Prison Committee, PEN International
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Author Jailed for Insult Released