Cameroonian-American writer and scholar Patrice Nganang is home safely in the United States, after a sudden reversal by authorities in Cameroon saw his release from prison and quick deportation.
“Finally home, tired,” said Nganang in a Facebook post late Thursday, as his travels from Cameroon to Washington D.C. and New York came to an end. Video shared by the Cameroon American Council on social media showed a jubilant airport welcome by Nganang’s friends and neighbors.
Nganang had remained in prison in Yaoundé over the holidays, ahead of a planned January 19 court date. On Wednesday, Cameroonian authorities instead decided to free him and expel him from the country.
Nganang was first detained on December 6 at the Douala airport, where he checked his bags and planned to board a flight to Zimbabwe but never arrived. He was later taken to Kondengui prison and faced charges of issuing a death threat against the 84-year-old President Paul Biya, now in power for 35 years in Cameroon, and inciting violence with public comments on the ongoing crisis in the West African nation’s English-speaking regions.
The charges stem from Facebook posts and a news article.
Nganang is Professor of Literary and Cultural Theory at Stony Brook University in New York, with many supporters in the U.S. who appealed on his behalf. He teaches Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, and is planning a semester as a visiting professor at Princeton University in Spring 2018.
Image: Princeton University Humanities Council