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Dr Marie Claudette Ndagui’s health deteriorates while in prison

Status: 
Detained
About the situation

On 27 June 2019, the Libreville Court of Appeal confirmed Dr. Marie Claudette Ndagui’s sentencing in the first instance, thereby rejecting her appeal. The human rights defender has been in detention since her arrest on 23 January 2019 and will remain in the Central Prison of Libreville until the end of her sentence.

On 21 June 2019, Dr Marie Claudette Ndagui’s appeal hearing at the Libreville Court of Appeal was adjourned to 27 June 2019.

On 6 June 2019, the appeal hearing of Dr Marie Claudette Ndagui's case took place at the Court of Appeal in Libreville, after being adjourned twice. Dr. Ndagui's lawyers requested her acquittal and release, while the prosecution requested for the first-instance judgement and her 12-month imprisonment sentence to be upheld. The final decision is due to be pronounced on 20 June 2019.

On 23 May 2019, the appeal hearing of Dr Marie Claudette Ndagui’s case was adjourned again until 6 June 2019 for the purpose of conducting an in-depth examination of the accusations of corruption at the office of the Public Prosecutor that were put forward by the human rights defender in January 2019.

On 9 May 2019, the first appeal hearing of Dr Marie Claudette Ndagui’s case took place at the Court of Appeal in Libreville. Following statements by both the prosecution and the defence, the President of the Court of Appeal adjourned the hearing until 23 May 2019 for the purpose of conducting an in-depth examination of the accusations of corruption at the office of the Public Prosecutor that were put forward by the human rights defender in January 2019.

Following her arrest on 23 January 2019, Dr Marie Claudette Ndagui’s health has deteriorated in the Central Prison of Libreville. On 18 February 2019, she was sentenced to 12 months in prison with four months’ suspended and a 10 millon CFA fine for alleged damage and interest on three counts of contempt of court, defamation, and public slander that damaged the honour of the Public Prosecutor of Libreville, Olivier N’zahou.

About Marie Claudette Ndagui

marie_claudette_ndagui_2.jpgDr Marie Claudette Ndagui is the president of the Association Gabonaise pour les Oeuvres Sociales (AGOS) that promotes economic and social rights of shopkeepers and vulnerable youth in Libreville. In addition to other projects, AGOS works with shopkeepers to sensitize them to their rights and to denounce mistreatment and abuse that they face, including extortion and seizure of their goods and materials.

 

28 June 2019
Dr Marie Claudette Ndagui’s appeal rejected

On 27 June 2019, the Libreville Court of Appeal confirmed Dr. Marie Claudette Ndagui’s sentencing in the first instance, thereby rejecting her appeal. The human rights defender has been in detention since her arrest on 23 January 2019 and will remain in the Central Prison of Libreville until the end of her sentence.

Dr. Marie Claudette Ndagui is the president of the Gabon Association for Social Projects (Association Gabonaise pour les Oeuvres Sociales - AGOS) that promotes economic and social rights of shopkeepers and vulnerable youth in Libreville. In addition to other projects, AGOS works with shopkeepers to sensitize them to their rights and to denounce mistreatment and abuse that they face, including extortion and seizure of their goods and materials.

In the first instance, on 18 February 2019, Dr Marie Claudette Ndagui was sentenced to 12 months in prison with four months suspended. She was also fined 10 million CFA (approximately €15,000 euros) for alleged damage on three counts of contempt of court, defamation, and public slander of the Public Prosecutor of Libreville, Olivier N’zahou.

On 19 June 2019, Dr Marie Claudette Ndagui’s lawyer requested that the Libreville Court of Appeal thoroughly investigate the allegations of corruption put forward by the human rights defender. As part of the investigation, the lawyer requested that members of the office of the Prosecutor of Libreville be questioned. The lawyer reports that a thorough investigation of the allegations was never undertaken.

During the same hearing, AGOS presented a medical report to the Libreville Court of Appeal that outlined how Dr Marie Claudette Ndagui’s health has deteriorated since her detention on 23 January 2019. Since her detention she has had two urinary tract infections, a bout of malaria, and her high blood pressure condition has worsened.

Front Line Defenders condemns the sentencing of Dr Marie Claudette Ndagui as it believes it to be in retaliation to her legitimate and peaceful work in the defence of human rights and expresses deep concern for her health.

24 May 2019
First appeal hearing of Dr Marie Claudette Ndagui’s case adjourned again

On 23 May 2019, the appeal hearing of Dr Marie Claudette Ndagui’s case was adjourned again until 6 June 2019 for the purpose of conducting an in-depth examination of the accusations of corruption at the office of the Public Prosecutor that were put forward by the human rights defender in January 2019.

 

14 May 2019
First appeal hearing of Dr Marie Claudette Ndagui’s case adjourned

On 9 May 2019, the first appeal hearing of Dr Marie Claudette Ndagui’s case took place at the Court of Appeal in Libreville. Following statements by both the prosecution and the defence, the President of the Court of Appeal adjourned the hearing until 23 May 2019 for the purpose of conducting an in-depth examination of the accusations of corruption at the office of the Public Prosecutor that were put forward by the human rights defender in January 2019.

Further investigations into the allegations of corruption were ordered due to a lack of a sufficient investigation in the first instance. According to local sources, a new round of interviews will be conducted with diverse members of the community. Furthermore, new audio recordings that pertain to the investigation will be considered as the allegations are examined.

Dr Marie Claudette Ndagui’s lawyers requested bail for the human rights defender for the interim period before the next hearing, however, it was not granted. The human rights defender has suffered from health problems which are exacerbated by crowded prison conditions.

18 April 2019
Dr Marie Claudette Ndagui’s health deteriorates while in prison

Following her arrest on 23 January 2019, Dr Marie Claudette Ndagui’s health has deteriorated in the Central Prison of Libreville. On 18 February 2019, she was sentenced to 12 months in prison with four months’ suspended and a 10 millon CFA fine for alleged damage and interest on three counts of contempt of court, defamation, and public slander that damaged the honour of the Public Prosecutor of Libreville, Olivier N’zahou.

Download the Urgent Appeal

Dr Marie Claudette Ndagui is the president of the Association Gabonaise pour les Oeuvres Sociales (AGOS) that promotes economic and social rights of shopkeepers and vulnerable youth in Libreville. In addition to other projects, AGOS works with shopkeepers to sensitize them to their rights and to denounce mistreatment and abuse that they face, including extortion and seizure of their goods and materials.

On 23 January 2019, Dr Marie Claudette Ndagui was arrested following a press conference where she relayed testimonies that she had collected alleging that the Public Prosecutor had received a payback after allowing a defendant to avoid prison time. Additionally, the human rights defender referred to alleged instances of misappropriation of funds at the Public Prosecutor’s office. These allegations were based on interviews that Dr Marie Claudette Ndagui conducted with two individuals who had been approached with bribes in order to give testimony during a court process as well as victims of extortion and blackmail.

After her arrest, law enforcement officers searched through her home, vehicle and the AGOS office, and took documents and technical equipment, including sound recorders that contained information about the alleged misappropriation of funds. These items have not been recovered by AGOS staff nor Dr Marie Claudette Ndagui’s family, despite repeated requests.

Directly following her sentencing, on 18 February 2019, the human rights defender’s lawyer launched an appeal of her sentence. Since then, the date for an appeal hearing has not been set. In the last three months, Dr Marie Claudette Ndagui’s health has deteriorated. She is 65 years old and requires regular care for high blood pressure. Stress related to the poor conditions in the Central Prison of Libreville has exacerbated other health problems associated with her high blood pressure, and according to her family, Dr Marie Claudette Ndagui has not received adequate care to meet her health needs.

Front Line Defenders is concerned by deterioration of the health conditions of Dr Marie Claudette Ndagui. Furthermore, it is concerned at the rapid conviction of the human rights defender in the absence of an effective investigation of the allegation she had reported on.