CRNI’s 2002 Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning was given to Paul-Louis Nyemb Ntoogueé, aka Popoli (“the people”), from Cameroon. The award was given in recognition of his many years personal sacrifice in the face of repeated attempts to silence him, and as part of our campaign to spotlight his case, and bring additional pressure on those in power to relent.
Popoli’s troubles with the government of President Paul Biya began in late 1991, when he was arrested and tortured for marching in a public demonstration for freedom of the press. Popoli was subsequently threatened with arrest in 1992, for a series of cartoons about government corruption, hiding in a swamp for 20 days until matters cooled down. He was arrested and interrogated again in 1996, before all charges were dropped.
From that point onward, Popoli became the target of escalating threats of violence. In August 1998 two strangers assaulted the cartoonist at his office. A few days later Popoli fled the country after being tipped off that he would be attacked again, this time along with his younger sister. The day he fled the country, officers invaded his house and left behind the written threat that they would kill him by a thousand machete cuts if he continued to draw “disrepectful” cartoons of President Biya and the First Lady.
After briefly seeking asylum in South Africa, and then through the Canadian Embassy in Pretoria, Popoli decided to return to Cameroon. As he explained to CRNI, “I’d rather be buried by friends in my village than continue to live in fear among strangers.”
Threats and pressure continued, escalating into violence again in late 2001, when Popoli was dragged from his car and severely beaten by Security Officers. Shortly afterwards he was arrested, ostensibly for a cartoon which referenced the First Lady’s long-rumored past as a prostitute.
Essam Hanafy, Egypt 2000 Essam was arrested, fined, and sentenced to prison for a cartoon that criticized the Minister of Agriculture.
Essam Hanafy is an Egyptian cartoonist who wrote for the opposition paper, Al-Sha’b. In April 2000, he and two other journalists for the paper were arrested for their criticism of government officials. Hanafy was fined and sentenced to one year imprisonment and hard-labor. Hanafy was convicted for his cartoons criticizing the Minister of Agriculture. Hanafy was released early in October, 2000 and received the Courage in Cartooning award from Cartoonists’ Rights Network the same year.
Our first annual Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning was given to Turkish cartoonist Dogan Guzel in June of 1999. In July of Dogan received a 40 month prison sentence for drawing a cartoon that called the state “weak”, and for publishing his cartoons in the Kurdish language. He served one year of that sentence. Learn about Dogan’s plight in our Eastern Europe section of our Art to Die For collection.
On 31 July 1998 Güzel was arrested and charged for alleged defamation and threat to the state and the armed forces. The prosecution on the basis that four, from May 1993 to October 1993 published cartoons in the Özgür Gündem where Güzel the term “lax Turkish Republic” as used in a satirical manner. Güzel was sentenced for these caricatures of 10 months, for a total of 40 months imprisonment. According to the Law 4454 of 28 August 1999, which makes it possible to suspend fines and the journalists for three years on probation, as well as due to massive protests of international journalists’ associations (including Reporters Without Borders ), was Doğan Güzel by President Süleyman Demirel pardoned and on 16 . September 1999 together with the sentenced to 100 years in prison writer Ismail Beşikçi released.
Güzel worked for issued from May 1992 pro-Kurdish newspaper Özgür Gündem . He developed the cartoon character Qirix (Kırık). The Qirix stories were published daily in the Özgür Gündem and after its closure in the succession newspaper Özgür Ülke. They acted as a satirical companion of the violent rich conflict in the Kurdish regions of Turkey.
The newspaper Özgür Gündem was exposed in Turkey for alleged violations of anti-terror laws and the promotion of separatism repeated reprisals, there were numerous killings of journalists and their sellers, and attacks on the publisher. Following a bomb attack on the editorial Istanbul and Ankara in December 1994, she was finally set.
In April 2000, Güzel was imprisoned again.
Due to the strained against him court proceedings Güzel left Turkey, and now lives in Spain. He has been a regular contributor to the daily Kurdish newspaper Yeni Özgür Politika, and his Kurdish cartoon character QIRIX is a regular feature in the newspaper Özgür Gündem