DRC: President Tshisekedi refuses to condemn the arrest of journalist Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala

“Free Bujakera! » After the arrest of journalist Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala on September 8 in Kinshasa, several dozen journalists gathered on Wednesday September 20 in front of the Ministry of Justice in Kinshasa to demand the release of their colleague

DRC: President Tshisekedi refuses to condemn the arrest of journalist Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala

“Free Bujakera! » After the arrest of journalist Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala on September 8 in Kinshasa, several dozen journalists gathered on Wednesday September 20 in front of the Ministry of Justice in Kinshasa to demand the release of their colleague.

After being placed in police custody (provisional arrest warrant), he was imprisoned on September 14 in Makala, the main prison in the Congolese capital, from which he has not been released since. He is being prosecuted in particular for “forgery, spreading false rumors and disseminating false information” for an article published on August 31 by Jeune Afrique, but not signed by him. This article cited a note from the intelligence services highlighting the role of military intelligence in the assassination of former minister and opponent Chérubin Okende in July.

For twelve days and the arrest of the country's most followed journalist on cd, correspondent for the Reuters agency and the weekly Jeune Afrique in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Requests that the Congolese head of state refused to hear on Tuesday. “I don’t get involved in what happens with the justice system. But obviously, as the Constitution says, I am the supreme magistrate. Without judging of course, I can inquire about certain situations and therefore I would say that in the two cases you cite, all I do and what I ensure is that the rights of these individuals are guaranteed and respected,” he declared on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

“Arbitrariness”

“He’s a young man that I like, he covered our [2018] campaign, he was in all the fights with us, so you see that I have sympathy for this young man,” a- he added, comparing the detention of Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala to other journalists under prosecution. He mentioned the Australian journalist Julian Assange, indicted for “espionage” by the United States, and the French journalist Arianne Lavrilleux, in police custody since Tuesday for her investigation into a French operation in Egypt broadcast in 2021 in the media of investigation Disclosed.

“The words of the Head of State were expected, but they disappoint,” says Sadibou Marong, director of the Sub-Saharan Africa office of Reporter Without Borders (RSF). What I expected was for him to recognize the arbitrary nature of Stanis' detention. »

The NGO contacted the UN working group on arbitrary detention. For RSF's Africa manager, "the electoral context is the basis, among other things, of the deterioration of security and the freedom of exercise of journalists." The flaws in the organization of the presidential election scheduled for December 20, during which Félix Tshisekedi wants to run for a second term, have continued to be highlighted by the Congolese press in recent months. “We have the impression that the National Intelligence Agency is chasing journalists,” adds Sadibou Marong.