New York- US (PANA) -- The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) announced here Thursday that it was seeking 'untainted' investigations into the death of Camero o nian journalist Germain Cyrille Ngota.
In a letter to Cameroonian President, Paul Biya, the CPJ said "We are alarmed by investigations that appear to be flawed and marred with political interference i nto the 22 April death in prison of journalist Germain Cyrille Ngota.
"We hold Cameroonâ?s government responsible for Ngotaâ?s death and the well-be ing of three other journalists in the custody of the administration.
We call on y ou to address these concerns, along with allegations of torture of journalists b y a security agency accountable to your office.
" In the letter, signed by Joel Simon, the CPJ Executive Director, the media watch dog said although it was heartened by a government statement on 26 April, which s aid "â?with a concern of objectivity and impartiality, the President of the Repu blic has wanted to assign this case to a body independent of the Executive and i t s parties, namely the judicial power, in view of the establishment of the truthâ ?, the reverse seemed to be the case now.
It said, however, that "the same statement asserted that Ngotaâ?s case was 'not a matter of restriction of freedom of the press but of submission of every citi z en to the rule of law'.
"In fact, agents of the Cameroon intelligence agency, DGRE, first arrested Ngota , while he was receiving home medical care for high blood pressure, with three o t her journalists investigating a document that implicated presidential adviser La u rent Esso in corruption.
"The administration has not addressed allegations that DGRE agents used psycholo gical and physical torture to force the journalists to reveal sources for the do c ument.
"The presidentâ?s statement further asserted that Ngota died only of poor healt h and not because of poor medical care at Nkondengui prison.
"However, in an interview with weekly La Mأ©tأ©o, Ngotaâ?s mother, Georgette Ed ima Ngoulou, said her son had complained of being trampled while sleeping on the floor of his cell and of exposure to rainwater.
She said the prison warden 'cate g orically rejected' a written plea for his medical evacuation, which his mother s a id had been endorsed by the prison doctor.
" The CPJ said it was troubled that on 28 April, the minister publicly disclosed t hat Ngota had been tested positive for HIV and died from infections arising from this condition - a claim refuted by Ngotaâ?s widow.
Local anti-AIDS activists and Cameroonâ?s national medical association have con demned the public disclosure of Ngotaâ?s HIV status, raising concerns of violati on of privacy and medical confidentiality rights enshrined in Cameroonian laws a n d the UN Programme on HIV/AIDS.
The ministerâ?s statement was based on an autopsy he said would be held â?in t he presence of independent personalitiesâ? and Ngotaâ?s family.
The CPJ said, however, Ngotaâ?s younger brother, Bruno Ntede, and Fأ©lix Cyriaq ue Ebolأ© Bola, a local journalist who was invited by the minister to represent t he independent press at the autopsy, said they did not attend.
It called on President Biya to stick to his order to Cameroon's judiciary to ind ependently investigate the matter.