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D.R. Congo9 August 2002

Third journalist detained

9.08.02

Eugène Ngimbi Madebo, editor of the weekly L’Intermédiaire, was arrested on 7 August by police accompanied by a military judge. He was taken to the prosecutor’s office of the Military Order Court (COM) and is still being held there. The COM public prosecutor has charged him with libel in connection with an article calling on this court to release two human rights activists who have been held for the past two months on the court’s orders. The journalist has accused the court of being "a tool for consolidating a dictatorship".


24.07.02 - Two journalists jailed for "publishing false news"

Raymond Kabala, managing editor, and Delly Bonsange, editor of the daily Alerte Plus have been arrested and then imprisoned respectively on 19 and 22 July, for "publishing false news".

Without wishing to comment on the facts in the case, Reporters Without Borders has urged the Minister of the Interior Mira Ndjoku to ensure that the authorities halt proceedings against the two men.

"The situation has seriously deteriorated in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We condemn the increase in questioning and arrests of journalists because of their work. Seven journalists have been picked up in the last ten days. It is unacceptable", said Robert Ménard, General Secretary of Reporters Without Borders.

According to information obtained by Reporters Without Borders, Raymond Kabala was arrested on 19 July at 8.45pm by non-uniformed armed men, among whom was the head of security for Mwenze Kongolo, the minister for security and public order, witnesses said.

On 20 July the journalist was transferred to the penitentiary and re-education centre in Kinshasa. He was accused in connection with a news item published on 11 July reporting that Mwenze Kongolo had been poisoned. This report turned out to be false and had been denied in the following day’s paper on 12 July. Editor Delly Bonsange was arrested on 22 July by judicial inspectors and has since been detained in a provincial police inspectorate jail. It appeared that, under torture, the managing editor had said that Delly Bonsange was the author of the article in question.

According to Journalist in Danger (JED), a partner association of Reporters Without Borders based in Kinshasa, security forces have arrested 41 journalists since Joseph Kabila took power in January 2001. The Congolese head of state is on the list of 39 predators of press freedom in the world, published by Reporters Without Borders.



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