By Eric Tataw – Washington DC, USA, Tuesday, December 3, 2019.
The Habeas Corpus Applications for Cameroonian Gospel singer, Beza Berist and her, Grace Mafuantem and sister-in-law, Gladys Bissama filed since August 19, 2019, have been rejected, National Telegraph has confirmed.
Habeas corpus is a recourse in law through which a person can report an unlawful arrest or incarceration to a court and request that the court order the custodian of the person, usually a prison official, to bring the prisoner to court, to determine whether the arrest and/or detention are lawful.
The applications were rejected, Tuesday, December 3, 2019, by EKODECK Désiré, Presiding Judge of the High Court of Mfoundi in Yaounde, the capital city of Cameroon and of its Centre Region.
The rejection of the application is not only erroneous but completely defeats the mandatory provisions of Sections 585 (4) of the Cameroon Criminal Procedure Code which provides, “Where the arrest and detention appears to be illegal, the President shall order the immediate release of the person detained”, Barrister Ayukotang Ndep Nkongho, one of the lawyers of the applicants said.
Barrister Ayukotang furthers that they have demonstrated the applicants: Grace Mafuantem, Beza Berist, and Gladys Bissama were abusively arrested and incarcerated at one of the detention facilities of Service Central des Recherches Judiciaires.
The Lawyer cited the fact that the arrest was abusive without a warrant, carried out by unknown men, arrested without their rights being read to them, and their houses searched without a search warrant nor in the presence of a witness, arrested and taken to an unknown destination without informing anyone of their whereabouts, and Grace was so maltreated at the time of the arrest.
The lawyer also condemned their detention, saying that Berist was severely tortured that same day of the arrest; Friday, August 2, 2019. Several gendarmes of Service Central des Recherches Judiciaires violently bartered her following the orders of the Commander of SCRJ who intimated “il faut la traité”; the lawyer told National Telegraph.
Barrister Ayukotang went on that they were investigated for offences provided for and sanctioned by the obnoxious law no. 2014/028 of December 2014 on the Suppression of Terrorism and by Section 11 of the said law, the period of remand in custody is 15 days renewable upon authorization of the State Prosecutor meanwhile the report of the police investigations had no such renewal.
He again lamented that the applicants were neither allowed access to lawyers nor to family members during the early days of their incarceration, adding that despite the forgoing arbitrariness and many others, the Presiding Judge EKODECK Désiré rejected the application without any justification. She merely said “rejeté”, the lawyer explained.
“By this decision, the judge has clearly demonstrated that the judicial system of La République du Cameroun is an appendage of the excesses of the design to effeminate and completely disenfranchise Southern Cameroonians (Ambazonians), Barrister Ayukotang Ndep Nkongho blasted.
The Gospel singer is currently held at the Kondengui Principal Prison, maximum-security detention facility in the capital of the Central African country while her mother and sister-in-law were released, Wednesday, November 20, 2019, by a decision of a Military Prosecutor to close the matter.