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Cameroon: Assault of a lawyer by police officers in Yaoundé

20 october 2020

The OIAD learnt with dismay of the attack on Mr. OWONO MBARGA COSMAS by police officers of Police Station No. 4 in Yaounde.

This lawyer, president of the Union of Young Lawyers of Cameroon, was brutalized while visiting one of his clients. His dress was torn and his files confiscated.

The OIAD expresses its deep indignation at these extremely serious acts.

The OIAD wishes to remind the Cameroonian authorities that under the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers of the United Nations (1990) :

“ All arrested, detained or imprisoned persons shall be provided with adequate opportunities, time and facilities to be visited by and to communicate and consult with a lawyer, without delay, interception or censorship and in full confidentiality. Such consultations may be within sight, but not within the hearing, of law enforcement officials.“(Principle 8).

“ Lawyers shall not be identified with their clients or their clients‘ causes as a result of discharging their functions.“ (Principle 18).

“ Governments shall ensure that lawyers (a) are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference; (b) are able to travel and to consult with their clients freely both within their own country and abroad; and (c) shall not suffer, or be threatened with, prosecution or administrative, economic or other sanctions for any action taken in accordance with recognized professional duties, standards and ethics.“ (Principle 16).

Consequently, the OIAD urges the Cameroonian authorities to conduct an investigation to identify the perpetrators of this violation of the essential rights of the defence and to do everything possible to ensure that Mr. OWONO MBARGA COSMAS can continue to exercise his profession without hindrance.