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Democratic Republic of Congo24 November 2006

Police hold two journalists illegally after clashes outside supreme court

Reporters Without Borders and its local partner organisation, Journalist in Danger (JED), today called on the Congolese authorities to explain why they have been holding two journalists since 21 November without bringing charges against them. They were arrested following clashes at the supreme court between police and supporters of presidential candidate Jean-Pierre Bemba.

“There can be no exceptions to the rule of law at such a tense moment for the Democratic Republic of Congo,” the two organisations said. “These two journalists clearly did nothing to justify being detained and everything suggests they were arrested for witnessing something the authorities would prefer not to be publicised.”

Reporters Without Borders and JED added: “Under these circumstances, they must be released unconditionally. If, on the other hand, the judicial authorities think they are in a position to bring charges, the two journalists must be granted their right to be treated according to the law.”

Clément Nku, a cameraman with Canal Congo Télévision (CCTV), a television station owned by Bemba, was arrested after filming the events at the supreme court. He has since been held at the Kinshasa Provincial Inspectorate (IPK), the police headquarters, without being charged or without any other proceedings being initiated.

His family believes he was arrested for filming policemen taking off their uniforms and fleeing from the clashes with protestors claiming to support Bemba.

Bosange Mbaka, a reporter with the newspaper Mambenga, was arrested near the scene of the clashes. He has since been held illegally at the Police General Directorate for Special Services, known as “Kin Mazière.”



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