A Congolese journalist has been detained by the country’s security agents without charge since July 31, 2017.
According to Journaliste en Danger (JED), a member of the African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a group of secret service officials, arrested Jean Pierre Tshibitshabu, an independent journalist while he was covering demonstrations in Kasumbalesa, a border town in the Katanga province.
The demonstration organised by a citizens’ movement, “la Lutte pour le Changement (Fighting for Change) was calling for the delayed general elections in the country to be held in December this year.
On the same day, security agents arrested about 15 other journalists some of whom were physically assaulted while covering similar demonstrations across the country. Most of the journalists were subsequently released after police deleted their recordings.
Congolese political leaders agreed to hold the delayed presidential, legislative and provincial elections in December 2017.
AFEX joins its member, Journaliste en Danger (JED) to express deep concern about the crackdown on freedom of expression rights in DRC.
We condemn the arbitrary arrest of Jean Pierre Tshibitshabu who has since been detained at the Kasapa central prison without trial. AFEX urges Congo’s judicial authorities to order the police to release the journalist as this violates provisions of the country’s constitution and Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which the DRC has ratified since 1979. We also call on the police to stop the arbitrary arrest and detention of journalists in the country.