Jailed for attending her first protest 

Dorgelesse Nguessan, Cameroon 

Dorgelesse protested for the first time to demand action for the state of Cameroon’s economy. During the peaceful demonstrations, Dorgelesse was arrested. She was taken away from her family and sentenced to 5 years in prison. Tell Cameroon to free Dorgelesse Nguessan. 

Dorgelesse has always dreamt of owning a thriving beauty institute. Two years ago, the single mother and hairdresser was just starting to expand her hairdressing business to include manicures.  

On 22 September 2020, Dorgelesse’s dream was shattered when she was arrested during a protest in Douala, Cameroon. It was her first ever protest. She had never been politically active before, but her concerns about the state of Cameroon’s economy led her to join the demonstrations.  

When the peaceful protest began, security forces fired rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters. As Dorgelesse turned into an alleyway, police followed her and fellow protesters and blocked them in. They arrested her and took her to a police station, where she was held in a cell with 22 other people in terrible conditions.  

On 29 September 2020, Dorgelesse was transferred to Douala Central Prison, where she remains.  She was charged with “insurrection, assembly, meetings and public demonstrations” and tried by a military court. She was sentenced to five years in prison on 7 December 2021.  

Dorgelesse is the breadwinner of her family. Her 18-year-old son has sickle cell anaemia, and the family are struggling to pay for his medication. Dorgelesse is desperate to be reunited with them. 

Sign the petition

Tell Cameroon to free Dorgelesse today.

Tell the Cameroonian authorities to release Dorgelesse from prison immediately and unconditionally, as she has been detained solely for peacefully exercising her right to freedom of expression and assembly. 

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