The court hearing of francophone web reporter, Paul Chouta has been adjourned to April 27. This was done in a session yesterday held in his absence.
The pressman failed to appear at the Court of Appeal for the Centre region after the court failed to issue an extraction warrant to permit him leave his detention facility.
His lawyers have expressed dissatisfaction, stating that they were not notified before time.
This is not the first obstacle in the case of the web journalist.
The reporter of Cameroun Web and manager of Le TGV de I’info was arrested on the 28th of May 2019 in Yaounde after a complaint of defamation was filed against him by Carlixth Beyala.
On September 10, 2019, his lawyers were informed of a court decision that ruled for a joinder, having his trial resume alongside that of another individual accused of same charges (defamation and false news) by the same French writer. All attempts by his lawyers to reject the decision fell on deaf ears.
The journalist’s case has since witnessed several adjournments as authorities have given a deaf ear to his release even on bail.
Yesterday’s court session was the second the reporter missed in a row, after he was not informed when it was adjourned to Monday March 9th. Even though the maximum penalty for the crimes he is accused of will have a penalty of six months in jail if found guilty, in a few weeks he would have spent a year behind bars already.
Prior to Chouta’s arrest, the Committee to Protect Journalists, CPJ says he had received several threats and “was attacked out of his home in February 2019 by suspected government agents.”
CPJ and other media and human rights bodies have called for the release of Paul Chouta and several other pressmen held behind bars for their work.