DRC: JED Demands Provisional Release of Journalist Detained for 48 Hours on Defamation Charges

Photo: REUTERS/Kenny Katombe - RC124E012FB0

Journalist en danger (JED) expresses its sadness over the arrest, on Wednesday September 9, 2020, by the office of the general prosecutor attached to the Court of Appeal of Kinshasa, of a journalist who is being prosecuted for “defamatory statements” against the director of the Teachers’ Control and Payroll Service (SECOPE).

According to information received by JED, Jean Moleki, journalist and editor of the “Le FAX” newspaper published in Kinshasa, is being held in the cells of the general prosecutor attached to the Kinshasa Court of Appeal following a provisional arrest warrant (MAP) signed by the prosecutor. The journalist was arrested on Wednesday, September 9, 2020, by prosecutors accompanied by officers of the Congolese national police bearing a warrant. After being escorted to the Prosecutor’s office, the journalist was questioned over an article written by one of his journalists, published on July 14, 2020 and entitled “Recalcitrant Fatshi Strikes Once Again, more than 500 Agents Involved: Director Delon Kampayi ‘idiofalizes’ SECOPE”.

In this article that is being challenged, the journalist denounced “tribalism” by accusing the head of this state institution, not only of recruiting only people from his land, Idiofa (a locality in the province of Kwilu), but also of having diverted a large amount of money.

According to JED’s lawyer, who met with the investigating magistrate, the latter was waiting to organize a confrontation between the journalist and the plaintiff before deciding on the further course of the case.

However, JED considers that this sudden arrest of the journalist is not justified, considering the principle of presumption of innocence, and calls for his provisional release.