Congo-Kinshasa: Journalist Released After Being Held for More Than Five Months Without a Hearing

Regulation & Policy

Papy Tembe Moroni was released on April 13, 2007, in Kinshasa. Tembe, a cameraman and reporter with the privately-owned Canal Congo Television (CCTV), was detained for 132 days in the cells of Kinshasa's Secret Service Police and at the Centre pénitentiaire et de rééducation de Kinshasa (CPRK), Kinshasa's main prison.

The "provisional" release is part of an action undertaken by new Justice Minister Minsayi Booka that would see detainees who have served at least a quarter of their sentence or who were irregularly detained released in order to free up space in the country's overcrowded jails. Tembe is forbidden from leaving town, however, and must report to a magistrate twice a week.

Tembe said he suffered severe brutality during his detention because of his status as both a native of Équateur province - one he shares with former Vice-President J.P. Bemba - and as a journalist with the CCTV, which is accused of "inciting hatred and violence."

Tembe was arrested at his home on the night of December 1, 2006 and secretly detained for several days in the cells of the Special Services Police division (commonly referred to as Kin-Mazière) before being transferred on December 27, 2006 to the CPRK. The police accused him, without evidence, of "inciting violence, spreading false rumours, and public insults."

Another journalist, Bonsange Mbaka, a reporter for "Mambenga" magazine, who was arrested under similar circumstances as Tembe, is still being detained at the CPRK. He is accused without evidence of "theft of military effects" (see alerts of 19 March 2007 and 27 November 2006).

Journaliste En Danger Kinshasa, April 23, 2007