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Human Rights Watch welcomed the recent release of more than one hundred political prisoners in Congo, and urged President Kabila to release the remaining detainees who are eligible for an amnesty announced on February 19.

A joint government commission is currently visiting central prisons and security lockups to examine cases of political prisoners and decide whether to release them. However, administrative delays have unnecessarily prolonged the detention of people entitled for release according to the terms of the amnesty.

"This is a significant step forward and the Congolese government must be commended for it," said Peter Takirambudde, Executive Director of the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch, "We urge the Congolese government to keep moving in this direction and to promptly release those who are still wrongfully detained."

Forty-nine prisoners, many of them soldiers of the former Congolese army, were freed in mid-March.

Human Rights Watch has evidence of dozens of other prisoners held by President Kabila's government for the non-violent expression of opinion, and, in some cases, on charges or accusations of treason.

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