Cameroon’s lawyer’s anger does not subside after two of their colleagues, Me Richard Tamfu and Me Armel Tchuemegne, were arrested and detained on Friday, November 20. They are accused of “contempt of court and destruction” for taking part in a lawsuit in a court in Douala on November 10, which had led to a muscular police intervention and clashes.
The meeting of the extraordinary council this weekend adopted the Bar Association’s council a series of strong resolutions to express its dissatisfaction.
The resolutions adopted this weekend stipulate that from November 30 to December 4, lawyers will no longer wear their traditional black dress in the courts, but above all that they will cease to intervene in criminal cases, including the court, for the time being. Supreme and special criminal courts, as well as in courts dealing with “electoral disputes”, including the Constitutional Court. And this fifteen days of regional elections.
Strong action welcomed by Me Bissou, President of the Human Rights Commission at the bar: “You know that lawyers are obligatory in criminal cases and before the Supreme Court. So these jurisdictions cannot rule in the absence of lawyers. Strong enough measures should try to restore the image of the lawyer, which is becoming increasingly dirty. “
Already last week, the order council had condemned the “brutality” of the police intervention on November 10 during a hearing in Douala in the heart of the dispute. Several lawyers had been injured. Council to council also qualifies as “ambush” the arrest of Me Tamfu and Me Tchuemegne “without prior summons or justification”, according to him. Finally, they question the legality of their detention, which they consider to be contrary to the Code of Criminal Procedure, in so far as they are only prosecuted for crimes and offer guarantees of representation. According to them, all this is a “programmed persecution” of the profession that is intended to mediate lawyers as “criminals”.
For her part, Édith Kah Wallah, president of the Cameroon People’s Party (CPP) and initiator of the Stand Up for Cameroon platform, is outraged by these arrests, according to her, in the absence of an arrest warrant in violation of the law. When asked by RFI about this last week, the Minister of Territorial Administration Paul Atanga Nji said that he had no comment on this story and added that the judge was sovereign in Cameroon.
Edith Kah Wallah fears that this is just a pretext: Me Richard Tamfu, a voice committed to the defense of human rights in Cameroon, especially for journalists and English-speaking prisoners:
Mr Tamfu was, from the beginning of the Anglophonic crisis, among those who defended the various arrested activists […] Since Friday night, this lawyer has been in the same prison as his clients […] He did not commit any act of violence, none of the lawyers for that matter.
Edith Ka Wallah: “We fear that it is rather because he is a defender of human rights that he was arrested”
The African Bar Association expressed its solidarity yesterday in a statement. She says she is “very concerned” about the fact that the judicial institution is regularly used by her to “silence Cameroonian lawyers”. At the request of RFI, the Cameroonian government had not yet responded last night.