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6 activists arrested in DR Congo face trial

6 activists arrested in DR Congo face trial

Democratic Republic Of Congo

Six activists arrested in the Democratic Republic of Congo last week have been taken to court again in the eastern town of Goma.

The youth activists were arrested in connection with a national strike, or “ville morte” (dead city), to protest delays in organizing presidential elections.

Police entered the office of an organization where youth activists had been working through the night preparing banners for the national strike.

They were sentenced to two years in prison last week for disobeying the authorities, but the prosecution has appealed and wants other charges to be considered, including conspiracy and an attack on state security.

Rights groups have called for the release of the activists saying that the government is cracking down dissenting voices ahead of elections set to take place in November.

According to the United Nations, the crackdown on political dissent will likely undermine the credibility of the elections which could be the first peaceful transfer of power in the resource rich country, since independence in 1960.

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