Ahead of today’s expected verdict for five youth activists arrested and charged for mobilizing people to participate in last December’s church-led peaceful protests, Amnesty International is calling for the charges be dropped and the activists to be set free immediately and unconditionally.
Promoting and encouraging others to participate in a peaceful protest is not a crime therefore all charges against these activists must be dismissed and the group set free.Jean-Morbert Senga, Amnesty International's researcher for the DRC
“Promoting and encouraging others to participate in a peaceful protest is not a crime therefore all charges against these activists must be dismissed and the group set free,” said Jean-Mobert Senga, Amnesty International’s researcher for the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“This charade must be brought to an end, and the five freed immediately and unconditionally and allowed to exercise their right to freedom of association and expression without harassment,” said Jean-Mobert Senga.
The five young activists were held incommunicado for six months before they were brought before a court in June facing fabricated charges of “insulting the president”, “publication of subversive writings” and “civil disobedience. The five – Grace Tshiunza, Mino Bopomi, Cedric Kalonji, Carbone Ben and Palmer Kabeya are all members of one of the DRC’s most vocal citizen movements, Filimbi.
They were arrested in December and held in different detention centres of the National Intelligence Agency (ANR) until they were charged on 19 June in Kinshasa when they were transferred to Makala Prison.