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Dupond-Moretti, star lawyer to rescue Michel Atangana

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Dupond-Moretti, star lawyer to rescue Michel Atangana

The lawyer Eric Dupond-Moretti Mr. Eric Dupond-Moretti defends the French held since 1997 in Cameroon.

JPGuilloteau / L'Express

It's outside the courtroom that Mr. Eric Dupond-Moretti has this time decided to make its voice heard. The famous lawyer, nicknamed "acquitator" to its results before the Assize Courts, where many of his clients were declared innocent, has to defend Michel Atangana, a French prisoner in Cameroon for over 16 years. "There is not a lawyer who can remain indifferent to a situation like that," he said Thursday, January 9, explaining his involvement in a folder that embarrasses Franco-Cameroonian relations for several months. "It is not necessary that the location of this man falls into oblivion" he added.

Irregularities "surreal, kakfaïennes"

First sentenced in 1997 and by night without the assistance of a lawyer to embezzlement whose materiality has never been proven, Michel Atangana was retried last year and liable to a new sentence of twenty years imprisonment. And for the same acts in contravention of a rule as old as the law under which we can not be tried twice for the same offense. Dupond-Moretti me stressed wantonly multiple irregularities "surreal, kakfaïennes" suffered by the French, according to him under the influence of a "genuine letter from judicial stamp."

The lawyer is considering an action before international courts to favor a possible release of his client. It could also apply to the French courts have jurisdiction with respect to the nationality of Atangana, or even ask that he come to serve his sentence in France, as permitted by the Franco-Cameroonian 1974 Convention on judicial cooperation between the two countries. But Mr. Dupond-Moretti obviously not ignore the political dimension of the file. The position of the Cameroonian President Paul Biya, is decisive. He proposed to travel to Yaounde directly to explain the situation to the Head of State. He had been arrested last year on the subject by the president, Francois Hollande, on the sidelines of the Franco-African summit. Questioned by the press after the event, Paul Biya had referred to judicial decisions taken in his country and the examination of the case by the Supreme Court. It has since upheld the conviction of Atangana.

A debt of € 450 million the State of Cameroon

Dominique Sopo, president of the support committee prisoner and former head of SOS-Racisme, the fate of Michel Atangana is also linked to a heavy question of money. The Cameroon government has a claim valued at nearly 300 billion CFA francs (450 million euros) in respect, as confirmed Cameroonian official documents. Is an explanation of the continued detention of the French? Mr. Eric Dupond-Moretti is expected in any case a long and difficult struggle. But, he warns, "that those who committed this atrocity court know we will not let them go. We will harass them."

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