LIMBE, Cameroon—Police here took Journalist Franklin Sone Bayen into custody today after he refused to bail himself for CFA50,000 at the end of a court appearance.
Bayen, pictured to the left above, a freelance journalist who has been editor at several leading news organizations in Cameroon and published Media People, is on trial for libel at the Limbe Magistrate’s Court.
He has denied the charges, which relate to his reporting on complaints about alleged embezzlement of funds raised to mark the 2014 World Press Freedom Day by Anglophone journalists in Buea.
Paul Nkemanyang, editor of The Star and president of the Commonwealth Journalists Association, sued Bayen and another journalist Eugene Ndi, who is editor of News Watch, in July 2014.
Nkamanyang participated in raising funds ahead of a joint celebration of the World Press Freedom Day in Buea.
A judge, Esther Ayuk, dismissed the case in December 2015. Parties refused to comment on the reasons for the dismissal, since hearing took place in chambers.
Gendarmes in Limbe re-invited Bayen and Ndi on the same day of the dismissal. The two were later served new summons.
The case reopened today in open court.
Tassi Theophilus, the president of the Limbe Magistrate’s Court, who is hearing the matter asked the defendants to pay CFA50,000 each as bail but Bayen refused, preferring to be locked up, said Ndi.
Bayen was then taken to a local police station, from where he will likely be remanded to the Buea central prison, pending his next court appearance on 30 March.
His telephone went through last evening but was not answered. His lawyer Ebge Ernest was absent from court.