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D.R. Congo19 August 2002

Journalist arrested to force him to reveal sources


Achille Ekele N’Golyma, editor of the satirical publication Pot-pourri, was released from the Kinshasa Penitentiary and Reeducation Centre (CPRK) on 15 August. He had been held there since 31 July. He said he had been freed as a result of the decision of the prosecutor’s office to drop the charges against him. He was arrested on a complaint filed by Joseph Olenghankoy of the self-styled opposition party FONUS (Innovative Forces for Union and Solidarity), who subsequently withdrew his complaint.


Achille Ekele N’Golyma is now detained at the CPRK, the ex-central prison in Makala.


Managing editor Achile Ekele N’Golyma and news editor Damien Baita of the satirical newspaper Pot-Pourri were arrested on 31 July following a libel complaint by the leader of an opposition political party in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The complaint was made by leader of the Innovative Forces for Unity and Solidarity (FONUS), Joseph Olenghankoy, based on two articles accusing him of corruption and fraud that appeared in Pot-Pourri and another publication Vision.

The deputy public prosecutor interrogated Mr Ekelle N’Golyma to try to persuade him to reveal the source of the story. "This put the journalist under unacceptable pressure," said General Secretary of Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontières ˆ RSF) Robert Ménard.

"We remind you that the principle of protection of sources is one of the essential conditions for freedom of the press and democratic countries respect that right," he said in a letter to the chief public prosecutor Luhonge Kabinda Ngoy.

He called for the immediate release of Mr Ekele N’Golyma, who is held in cells near Kinshasa’s main courthouse, and for Mr Olenghankoy’s complaint to be dismissed.

The news editor of Pot-Pourri Damien Baita was released after his identity was checked. He had been picked up after being confused with Gogin Kifwakiou of the newspaper Vision who had written one of the incriminating articles. Mr Kifwakiou is currently being sought by police after going into hiding.

Reporters Without Borders recalled that Managing editor Raymond Kabala and editor Delly Bonsange of the daily Alerte Plus were arrested and then jailed respectively on 19 and 22 July for "publishing false news".

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