Cameroun: Supreme Court Judge Arrested – Family Statement

Cameroun: January 27, 2017


Herein is a true picture of the ordeal that has plagued the Ayah’s since Thursday January 19 2017

We, the AYAH Family find it primordial to give a true account of events that occasioned the unlawful arrest and current false detention of AYAH Paul ABINE (ADVOCATE GENERAL OF THE SUPREME COURT and NATIONAL CHAIRMAN OF THE POPULAR ACTION PARTY) at the National Gendarmerie Headquarters, Yaoundé. Here are the facts and we challenge detractors to prove the contrary:

On Thursday January 19 2017, 2 unidentified men got to the premises of the Supreme Court and offered some individual money requesting him to show them Ayah’s residence. He turned down their offer and immediately reported to Ayah. While doing so, the said individuals barged into Ayah’s office and ordered Ayah to sign a summons to appear before a certain colonel at The National Gendarmerie Headquarters Yaounde (SED) for interrogation, failure of which he would be taken there by force. Ayah told them that the law provides that he can only be served through his departmental head. The individuals resorted to making calls for approximately 90 minutes, asking what measures to take. As the calls bore no fruit, Ayah is put in contact with a certain colonel on phone to whom Ayah restates the position of the law. Following the colonel’s insistence, Ayah agreed to report the following day for a courtesy visit and not for an interrogation.

The following day, Friday 20 2017, Ayah briefed his lawyers who cautioned with insistence that Ayah should not condone illegality by reporting at SED without having been served legally. At 11:20 that day, the said colonel called Ayah with regard to the interrogation but Ayah reiterated his previous stance, and requested to be served in accordance with the law. The colonel then reassured Ayah that he will be legally served on Monday January 23 2017 as both individuals agree on that appointment. Meanwhile, reading their intentions well in advance, Ayah briefed some diplomatic quarters on the dangers that awaited him that same Friday.

On Saturday January 21 2017, 6 unidentified armed men barged into Ayah’s premises at 5:05pm. Ayah Paul is told by their leader he had to go with them to a certain personality’s premises immediately and that any manner of resistance will be met with brutality. The men were asked to present their warrant and they respond with threats. Ayah Paul tries to find out who they are and who ordered his arrest but threats only intensified. Ayah’s attempt to explain to the men the rules that govern arrests of persons was over ridden by one of the men who gripped him with the intent of pulling him off his seat but for the intervention of Ayah’s son who told them that Ayah needed to dress up (Ayah was not dressed up at this moment in time). Ayah was prevented from making and answering any calls (not even to his counsel), alongside all who were in his residence at the time. Ayah’s spouse was denied even her privacy as she was followed into her bedroom by the said men as she went to change clothes to accompany her husband to whatever place he was to be taken to. Same applied to others who were present. Ayah’s questions as to who ordered his arrest, the reasons behind the arrest, and the charges against him repeatedly fell on deaf ears.

Whereas upon his unlawful arrest he was told that he had to be taken to meet a certain authority undisclosed to his family, it was while following them that Ayah’s son was called by his mum informing him that the destination had changed and that Ayah Paul was now being taken to SED. Upon arrival at the said destination, Ayah was informed he will be detained there for an undetermined period of time.

Ayah was then locked up in a small windowless air-tight room cut off from direct sunlight and in which there is unstable power supply. Ayah Paul almost gave up the ghost on Sunday night as a result of the extremely harsh conditions in which he was detained, but for the timely intervention of one of the men on duty. On Monday morning as Ayah was visited by his family for breakfast, Ayah’s face was swollen considerably, his blood pressure had risen to about 185, his sight failing, his demeanor very worrying and his heart condition disturbing as diagnosed by a military nurse called to rescue. After extreme pressure from Ayah and his counsel, Ayah was relocated to a more humane cell. An official medical doctor announced for later that day has never shown up as we write.

A Cardiologist alongside an ophthalmologist were rushed to Ayah only on Wednesday January 25 2017 by his family to stabilise Ayah’s worrying health situation. Surprisingly, the cardiologist contacted by the family was denied the hospital booklet and report by the military nurse who previously checked Ayah, preventing appropriate medical follow up by the said cardiologist. The ophthalmologist equally provided palliatives pending proper medical examination at their clinics. Ayah’s phone has been confiscated, he is entitled to no visits but from a list of five persons he gave who qualify to serve him food. As if the often intimidation of some of his lawyers isn’t enough, Ayah is even deprived from signing documents that will enable his orphanages to operate smoothly. These and others which we reserve to ourselves are the facts that have occurred since Thursday, January 19 2017, and we challenge the authorities that be to prove the contrary.
Guided by the above, we hereby conclude:

1. That AYAH Paul ABINE was unlawfully arrested at his residence on Saturday, January 21 2017 by unidentified men.

2. That the victim is currently falsely imprisoned at the gendarmerie Headquarters, Yaoundé (SED), due to the gross irregularities occasioning his unlawful arrest (gross breach of procedure: Absence of warrant; breach of article 629 of the CPC, etc).

3. That the victim’s health has sharply deteriorated, with him developing an unusual heart condition and his sight affected, owing to the conditions of detention.

4. That AYAH Paul ABINE almost gave up the ghost on Sunday night due to the inhumane conditions surrounding his detention in the unventilated cell and escalating temperatures therein.

5. That AYAH Paul ABINE has not been formally charged with a crime neither is he clearly in the know of the reasons surrounding his unlawful arrest, nor the authority who ordered for his arrest. That no evidence has been presented to the victim since his arrest which warranted the extraordinary events that have so far occurred.

6. That the victim doesn’t have free access to some of his lawyers in order to prepare a possible defense for whatever charge against him, nor to get information on his health condition.

7. That the victim’s mobile phone has been seized and no manner of communication is at his disposal.

8. That the victim is even deprived of documents to be signed by him for the smooth running of his orphanages.

9. That AYAH’s privacy has been violated including that of his entire household by the men who barged into his residence without a warrant and even went into bedrooms, depriving even Ayah’s spouse of her privacy.

10. That there is enough evidence to conclude that if the said men met AYAH alone at his residence on the day of his unlawful arrest, the worst MAY have occurred.

We therefore demand AYAH Paul ABINE’s immediate and unconditional release.

Done this day, January 27, 2017 by the Family…

And approved of, by the entire AYAH Family