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Congo: Human rights activist in Kinshasa detained since February 2001

News release based on a letter to Minister She Okitundu

Golden Misabiko Baholelwa, leading member of the African association for the defense of human rights (ASADHO), was arrested on 5 February 2001 and has been detained since. ASADHO is one the the leading non-governmental human rights associations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Mr Misabiko was arrested by the National Security Agency (ANR) in Lubumbashi, Katanga province, where he is the President of the provincial ASADHO section. He is reportedly accused of leaking information about the execution of a high military commander, Anselme Masasu, in November 2000, which formed the basis of an ASADHO statement. The government has only recently admitted that Anselme Masasu was court martialed and executed.

On 6 February, one day after this arrest, Mr Misabiko was transferred to a lockup in Kinshasa, where he was reportedly ill-treated. When President Kabila closed down illegal detention centers shortly afterm he was taken to Makala Central Prison. At present, he is reportedly held at Pavillon I of Makala Prison, where all those accused of the assassination of Laurent-Desire Kabila are held. None of the detainees in Pavillon I have been allowed to see their family members, lawyers or a doctor.

President Joseph Kabila has promised to reconstruct the rule of law, and to honour the obligations the DRC has undertaken by ratifying the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Human Rights Watch therefore asks the DRC government to:

  • Inform the public about Mr Misabiko's whereabouts
  • Release Mr Misabiko if there is no evidence against him, or otherwise bring him to justice in accordance with international human rights standards
  • Allow Mr Misabiko and his fellow detainees access to family members, a laywer and a doctor while in detention
  • Respect the fundamental rights of all those who are being investigated for their role in the assassination of Laurent Desire Kabila

What you can do:

Write appeals with the same recommendation to Mr. She Okitundu, DRC Foreign Minister, Foreign Ministry, Kinshasa, DRC, Fax (243) 88 02368 or 8820513, or to the DRC embassy of your country.

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