Her lawyers had filed a writ requiring Michèle Ndoki to be brought before a judge or into court, especially to secure her release unless lawful grounds are shown for her detention. She was initially supposed to appear in court on Thursday, April 11, 2019 but said she was informed late and as such could not make it.
In front of the judge, Barrister Michèle Ndoki made a demand for habeas corpus – a plea for her immediate release. Her lawyers joined her to say her detention is “illegal and arbitrary”.
Ndoki’s lawyers hold that her arrest was done without a warrant and she is being detained without a remand warrant.
The state prosecutor pleaded for time in order to produce the documents justifying her detention, but would only emerge with the photocopy of a document titled “titre de detention” [remand warrant]. The joy with which the state prosecutor brandished the document was shortlived when Ndoki’s lawyers flawed him. He was asked to produce the original which was not readily available.
After a spirited submission from Barrister Michèle Ndoki, the presiding judge adjourned the matter to April 25 for the state prosecutor to present the original copy of the remand warrant as well as the warrant of arrest.
The Vice-President of the Women Organization of the MRC (OFMRC), Departmental Secretary of the MRC of Douala 1 and a key MRC activist was represented in court by a legal team championed by Barrister Claude Assira, Barrister Kari Abdoul Bagui and Barrister Emmanuel Simh. Other lawyers at the Mfoundi High Court in Yaoundé for the court hearing included Barristers Soup Sylvain, Hippolyte Meli Tiakouang, Richard Tamfu and a battery of others.
The President of the Cameroon Bar Association Barrister Tchakounte Patie had demanded the release of Michèle Ndoki who is one of theirs. After meeting in Douala on Thursday February 28, the Cameroon Bar Association condemned the arrest and called for a stop to the circulation of images on social media. The Bar further appointed three lawyers, Barristers Onana Désiré, Mang Mayi and Ashu Egbe, to defend them. They have since been meeting to deeply examine the matter, leading them to file for habeas corpus.
In a statement signed in Strasbourg on 26 February 2019, Henri DJOKO, Secretary of the Regional European Federation of the MRC described the circumstances that led to the arrest of Barrister Michele Ndoki.
“She was seriously wounded by three-gun bullets fired at close-range by the regime's soldiers during the 26 January 2019 peaceful protest in Douala. Barrister NDOKI was immediately admitted into a local medical facility, where she was receiving immediate medical attention due to her serious condition,” the statement said.
It added that: “She was later taken away to a family home where she continued to receive medical attention. While still receiving her treatment, she was arrested by soldiers loyal to the illegitimate regime in Yaoundé today, 26 February 2019.
“It should be noted that, this new arrest of a lawyer of her calibre; member of the Cameroonian bar association and a prolific leader of MRC is part of a malicious plan by the dictatorial and illegitimate regime of Yaoundé to dismantle the entire governing body of the MRC.
“This new arrest, and all those that preceded it, is in flagrant violation of the laws of the Republic and the international conventions that Cameroon has ratified. The MRC Europe vehemently condemns this new arrest and demands the immediate and unconditional release of President Maurice KAMTO, Barrister Michèle NDOKI, Professor Alain FOGUE, Célestin NJAMEN, Christian PENDA EKOKA, Albert NDZONGANG, Claude ABE (VALSERO), as well as all the other leaders, militants and sympathizers of the MRC and other Cameroonians unjustly and illegally arrested and imprisoned without trial.”
Michele Ndoki was sent to the Kondengui maximum security prison on March 7, 2019 after she was presented before prosecutors at the Yaoundé military tribunal for interrogation. She was held at the Special Operations Unit of the Police in Mvan for several days.
At the end of her interrogation which lasted for hours in the presence of her lawyers Barristers Emmanuel Simh and Claude Assira, Michèle Ndoki was charged with rebellion, hostility against the Fatherland, insurrection, hindrance to the movement of vehicles and persons and inciting a revolution.