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D.R. Congo12 August 2002

Opposition party leader threatens NGO Journalist in Danger

Reporters Without Borders today warned political party leader Joseph Olenghankoy that he will be held responsible for anything that happens to members of Journalist in Danger (JED), an NGO that promotes and defends press freedom, which Olenghankoy threatened with violence after it protested against the arrest of a journalist as a result of a complaint by Olenghankoy.

"The threats you have made against this organisation are unacceptable, and we will hold you personally responsible for any that happens to its members or property", Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard said in a letter to Olenghankoy, president of Innovative Forces for Union and Solidarity (FONUS), a party which claims to be part of the opposition. The letter urged him to retract his threats and to allow Journalist in Danger to work freely.

A report in the daily Le Potentiel on 7 August 2002 quoted Olenghankoy as saying Journalist in Danger was a "tribal grouping"and that he was going to "smash" it. This came after the organisation criticized the 31 July arrest by judicial inspectors of Achille Ekele N’Golyma, editor of the satirical publication Pot-Pourri, after Olenghankoy’s filed suit for "harmful allegations" over an article accusing him of corruption and misappropriation of public funds. Ekele N’Golyma is still being held in the cells of the Kinshasa high court.

Journalist in Danger claims that it was also threatened orally by Olenghankoy during telephone conversations about the Ekele N’Golyma case ,and that Olenghankoy said he would destabilize the organisation. Journalist in Danger says it takes these threats seriously.

Meanwhile, Raymond Kabala, managing editor of the daily Alerte Plus, and Delly Bonsange, its editor, have been detained since 19 and 22 July respectively for "publishing false news".

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