The Cameron Bar Council Association has raised yet another disturbing alarm following the recent arrest of their colleague, Barrister Tamfu Richard. Barrister, Tamfu Richard was arrested on the 18 of November 2020 in Douala. Though there are no clear reasons why the legal luminary was arrested, popular opinion hold that his arrest comes as a result of his criticism of the Cameroon government following the brutal crackdown of protesting lawyers at the Bonanjo Court of First in Douala.
According to the interim president of the Cameroon Bar council, Claire Bikouna Atangana, at least 30 lawyers are being hunted by the Cameroon government. The reason why these lawyers are hunted according to the interim president of Cameroon Bar Council is because of their participation in the November 12 protest at the Bonanjo Court of First Instance
This shameful treatment lawyers by men in uniform has attracted criticisms from people of all works of life in Cameroon. According to Barrister Agbor Balla, himself a human right advocate, the arrest and detention of lawyers is a “clear indication that the government of Cameroon has no respect for the legal profession”. “The arrest and detention of renowned Human Rights Advocate, Barrister Tamfu Richard and other colleagues is a clear indication that the Government has no respect for the legal profession. This clearly shows a complete disregard and disdain towards lawyers,” Agbor Balla tweeted.
A number of lawyers sustained injuries after Cameroon security officials stormed the Bonanjo court of first instance with tear gases on Tuesday 10 November 2020.
These Lawyers were demanding bail for their colleagues arrested . Security men, believed to have acted based on instructions of the court authority stormed in the room and fired tear gas to disperse the rioting lawyers. As a result of this, most of the lawyers were left with injuries and are currently receiving medical attention in different hospitals in Douala.
Barister Tamfu, human rights Lawyer and member of Cameroon Bar Association revealed that two lawyers by name Barrister Ndjoukouo Annie Christelle and Wantou Augustine were detained in custody at New Bell Central Prison on Monday November 9, 2020. Their hearing was to take place the following day, that is on Tuesday November 10, 2020.
The Cameroon Bar Association applied for bail of their colleagues but their demand was rejected. While trying to insist that their colleagues be release, military forces stormed in and fired tear gas on the lawyers. One of them is believed to have been shot on the leg.
Why were these lawyers detained?
Reports which ERuDeF Humanitarian News can not independently confirm say these lawyers reportedly took bribe worth over XAF 2000,000 from their clients on the bases that they were going to influence the ruling of the court in their favour. This however was not the case as the final ruling of the Bonanjo Court of First Instance went the opposite way. The clients of these lawyers immediately raised an alarm, revealing the agreement between them and their lawyers. The presiding magistrate immediately ordered the arrest of these lawyers on corruption bases.