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Democratic Republic of Congo29 October 2008

Court frees Global TV studio manager after 41 days

Global TV studio manager Daudet Lukombo was acquitted by a local magistrate’s court in Kinshasa/Gombe yesterday and was released from Kinshasa penitentiary at around 4 p.m., ending 41 days in detention. He was arrested during a police raid on the privately-owned TV station on the night of 11 September, after it broadcast a news conference by opposition legislator Ne Muanda Semi, the head of the controversial Bundu dia Kongo movement.

According to Reporters Without Borders partner organisation Journalist in Danger (JED), the Lukombo family said it had to pay the clerk of the court 200 US dollars to get him to issue the release order.

15.09 - Special police ransack privately-owned TV station, arrest two employees

Reporters Without Borders is astounded by a police raid on Kinshasa-based Global TV in the early hours of 12 September and calls for the release of the two employees - studio manager Daudet Lukombo and an unidentified security guard - who were arrested during the operation and who have since been held incommunicado at special police services headquarters, known as Kin-Mazière.

According to Journalist in Danger (JED), the Reporters Without Borders partner organisation in Democratic Republic of Congo, the raid on the privately-owned TV station was prompted by the broadcasting of an opposition parliamentarian’s news conference the previous day. Global TV has not been broadcasting since the operation.

“Until otherwise proven, the Congolese police special services are not authorised to break the law,” Reporters Without Borders said. “This punitive raid on Global TV was illegal. The government must not only release the two imprisoned employees but must also allow the station to resume broadcasting and must explain this disturbing incident.”

JED said the police special services ransacked Global TV’s studios during the raid, which began at about 1 a.m., dismantling and removing broadcast equipment. The offending news conference the previous day was given by opposition legislator Né Muanda Sémi, the head of the controversial Bundu Dia Kongo movement, who blamed the government for the current clashes between government troops and Laurent Nkunda’s rebels in the eastern province of Nord-Kivu.

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