Saturday, 30th September 2023

Three days after the police arrest of Stanis Bujakera, correspondent for Jeune Afrique in the Democratic Republic of Congo, protests and calls for the journalist's release increased on Monday in Kinshasa.

Stanis Bujakera is accused of "spreading false rumors and disseminating false information for an article published by Jeune Afrique implicating military intelligence in the assassination of former minister Chérubin Okende", said the Congolese news site Actualité .cd , of which he is deputy publishing director.

The article published at the end of August, which was not signed by Stanis Bujakera, was based on a confidential note presented as coming from the civil intelligence services (ANR), a note which the Congolese authorities then assured was was a false document. 

Arrested Friday evening at NDjili airport in Kinshasa, while he was preparing to leave for Lubumbashi (south-east), Stanis Bujakera, also correspondent for the Reuters agency , was held for three days in the premises of the police before being presented to the prosecution late Monday afternoon.

The journalist has not been released, he is "under a provisional arrest warrant" and remains "at the disposal of the prosecution" , his lawyer, Me Hervé Diakiese, told the press after the journalist's hearing. “I’m staying here ,” Stanis Bujakera had previously told his colleagues present on site.

During the day, a delegation of journalists ' associations met the Minister of Communication, Patrick Muyaya , whom they asked to get involved so that Stanis Bujakera could regain his freedom.

Since the start of the weekend, several embassies (Belgium, France, United States, Switzerland, EU, Spain, etc.) have been concerned about this arrest of a journalist, just over three months before the planned general elections . on December 20.

“The right to information and freedom of the press are the basis of all democracy ,” the Swiss embassy commented on Monday on X (formerly Twitter).

Among the organizations defending press freedom that protested against this arrest, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) demanded the release of the journalist and called on "the authorities to stop the harassment of reporters . "

The Association of International Press Correspondents in the DRC (ACPI-RDC), of which Stanis Bujakera is a member, also demanded his "immediate and unconditional release" , as well as the return of his two telephones and his computer, confiscated by the police.

Chérubin Okende , close opponent of Moïse Katumbi , presidential candidate, was found dead on July 13 in his car in Kinshasa, his body riddled with bullets. The circumstances and causes of his death have not yet been clarified by investigators.

-Africa News

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