- Michel Michaut Moussala, publication director for the Douala-based bi-weekly 'Aurore Plus', has been summoned to appear before a Douala court to face insult and defamation charges brought by Joseph Antoine Bell, a former goalie for the Cameroonian national soccer team. An 'Aurore Plus' article portrayed the ex-keeper as schizophrenic.
Mr Moussala is to appear before the Douala-Bonanjo Court of First Instance's correctional division tomorrow, according to the Kinshasa-based press freedom group Journaliste en danger (JED). The defamation complaint, filed on 7 June by Mr Bell, is based on an 11 May article that appeared in 'Aurore Plus' entitled, "Portrait of a schizophrenic", in which the paper allegedly compared the ex-goalie to a schizophrenic.
The article says: "Schizophrenia is a delirious mental condition characterised by emotional dysfunction and by difficulties in one's relationships with others. This description seems to fit one of the more quirky characters of the Cameroon soccer scene: Joseph Antoine Bell. His verbal outbursts offer proof of his emotional dysfunction, while his hostile manner suggests a difficulty in relationships with others."
The article further accused Mr Bell of a being a "skilful manipulator" who "pulls the strings behind the scenes." The famous Cameroonian sportsman belonged to the national "Lions indomptables" soccer team, which is a national icon in the country and has turned an influential institution.
Mr Bell has denied the allegations brought forward in 'Aurore Plus', calling them "false and defamatory." He has filed civil charges demanding 10 million CFA francs (approximately euro 15,250) in damages.
The 'Aurore Plus' article followed a Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) decision to dock six points from the "Lions indomptables" for failure to wear the regulatory jerseys during the 2004 African Cup.
Following the incident, Mr Bell criticised the Cameroonian Soccer Federation (Fédération camerounaise de football, Fécafoot), saying that Cameroon had been penalised at the games because the Fécafoot stood to gain a great deal of money in the so-called "jersey affair".
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