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Democratic Republic of Congo - Newspaper editor acquitted and released after five months in prison

Jullson Eninga, the editor of the daily Le Journal in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was released Tuesday, one day after the Kinshasa/Kalamu high court acquitted him of treason on the grounds that neither the facts of the case nor the legality of the charge had been established.

“We are delighted that Eninga is finally free, especially as there was no basis for the charge on which he was placed in pre-trial detention,” Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) said. “He did not write the offending communiqué and a treason charge would be possible only if the country were at war, and this has not been the case for years. It is deplorable that he spent five months in jail. We urge the authorities to stop imprisoning journalists.”

RSF and its local partner organisation, Journalist in Danger (JED), raised the Eninga case in an open letter to President Joseph Kabila on August 30. Journalist in Danger representatives were able to discuss the case with justice minister Luzolo Bambi Lessa when they were received by him a few days later.

Eninga was incarcerated in the Kinshasa Penitentiary and Re-education Centre (CPRK) on April 13 at the behest of the Kinshasa prosecutor's office because of a communiqué by the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a Hutu rebel group operating in the eastern DRC, which was published in the newspaper on September 11, 2009. It had been taken from the website. He was initially accused of “propaganda in support rebellion” before finally being charged with treason. If convicted, he could have been sentenced to death or to 20 years in prison.

Date posted: September 11, 2010 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 161