Cameroon: Environmental activist sentenced to prison term for ‘defamation’

| November 16, 2015

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Last week, a court in Cameroon’s South West region found environmental activist Nasako Besingi guilty of defamation. The court sentenced him to three years in prison and ordered him to pay fines and costs of more than US$18,000.

The American-owned Heracles Farms accused the director of the NGO Struggle to Economize our Future Environment of defamation in 2012. Mr. Besingi helped television journalists film a documentary on the conflict between the company and communities in and around Mundemba, where the trial took place.

Local communities are challenging the legality of Heracles Farms’ presence on what they consider to be their land. Many have condemned the company’s presence as a land grab, and there have been numerous conflicts with the company.

Adolf Malle is Mr. Besingi’s lawyer. He says, “I am very surprised by the judgement; the charges against Nasako were trumped up … and meant to put him away. We will appeal the judgement in the coming days.”

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Photo: Nasako Besingi. Credit: Robert Meyers/ Greenpeace