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Democratic Republic of Congo26 June 2006

Kamako radio journalist freed after 48 hours in police cell

Reporters Without Borders has learned that Gaston Ngalamulume of Radio Etoile in Kamako, in the central province of Kasai Occidental, was released on 24 June after being held illegally in the town’s police station for 48 hours on the orders of the local police chief. The authorities are not pressing any charges against him.

23.06.2006 - Radio journalist beaten and detained by local police chief in Kasai Occidental

Reporters Without Borders today called for the release of radio journalist Gaston Ngalamulume, who was beaten up by police and thrown in a cell on Wednesday in Kamako, in the central province of Kasai Occidental, on the orders of the town’s chief of police, Sgt. Médard Kabutakapu. Ngalamulume works for Kamako-based Radio Etoile.

“This is a second time in a month that a journalist has fallen victim to the whims of a local police chief in Kasai Occidental,” the press freedom organisation said. “The province’s officials should not be allowed to impose their own personal law. In this case, Sgt. Kabutakapu must be told what the rule of law means and Ngalamulume must be released from the police cell in which he is being held in an utterly illegal manner.”

Ngalamulume and Radio Etoile director Emmanuel Muela were summoned to the police station on Wednesday after broadcasting a play the previous night about a woman who was raped by a police officer. Outraged by what he called an “attempt to discredit the police,” Sgt. Kabutakapu ordered his men to give Ngalamulume a beating and throw him in the station’s cell. Ngalamulume is also one of the managers of the troupe that put on the play.

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