Statement on Continued Delays in Criminal Proceedings Against Journalist Paul Chouta
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP and the Clooney Foundation for Justice remain concerned at continued delays in the proceedings against Cameroonian journalist Paul Chouta, which have the effect of prolonging his arbitrary detention. This dilatory behavior reinforces the need for Mr. Chouta to be released.
Mr. Chouta, who is facing charges of defamation, insulting language, and false reporting, has already spent more than a year and a half in prison. And yet on December 15, his case was again adjourned–this time until January 7, 2021–because the judge overseeing the case was not present. This fits an abusive pattern. Over the course of 18 hearings, the trial has been adjourned time and again–with many adjournments attributable to the authorities’ actions or repeated omissions, including an inexplicable failure on multiple occasions to make the necessary arrangements for Mr. Chouta’s transfer to court.