A Cameroonian-American writer detained as he tried to leave the Central African nation is facing charges over writings critical of its government.

Patrice Nganang is a professor at New York’s Stony Brook University. A colleague says he has been in correspondence with Nganang’s wife, who’s in Zimbabwe. Fellow Stony Brook professor Robert Harvey says Nganang has been told the charges against him include accusations of insulting Cameroon President Paul Biya and issuing a death threat.

At a hearing Saturday, Ngagang’s lawyer said he didn’t represent a threat because he had never worked with any violent or armed groups and had always been a peaceful activist.

Nganang wrote an article critical of how Cameroon has handled a secessionist movement in some English-speaking areas. He’s due to go before a prosecutor in the coming week.

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