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Over 100 rights violations reported during electoral period in Congo

Over 100 rights violations reported during electoral period in Congo

Republic of the Congo

Between the period of the referendum last year and the March 2016 election in Congo Brazzaville, over a hundred human rights violation cases were identified in a report.

Deposited at the UN Council for Human Rights and the International Criminal Court (ICC), the report compiled by a group of political organisations and Congolese civil society is made up of testimonies from relatives of victims, civil society, leaders of opposition parties and statements by government authorities between September 2015 to July, 2016.

“We have recorded more than 100 cases of extrajudicial executions, arbitrary arrests and detentions, restrictions on freedom of expression and the media,” Maurice Massengo-Tiassé who presided over the drafting of the report told AFP.

“The goal is to ensure that criminals are punished,” he added while accusing the president Sassou Nguesso of leading the “criminal power.”

The report accused the Guard of the Republic and the Directorate of Territorial of being the main perpetrators of “abductions at night, arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment against supporters of the opposition in favour of the president”.

Congo’s Minister of Justice Pierre Mabiala has said in an interview on Thursday that the country has no political prisoners. He said every citizen is bound by the laws of the country and being a politician doesn’t make anyone immune.

This reaction is in reference to the detention of opposition leader General Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko who has been held since June for “undermining the internal security of the state”.

Another leader of a small opposition party, Paulin Makaya, was sentenced in July to two years in prison for “inciting a social unrest” after he organized and participated in an unauthorized demonstration.

The reelection of President Denis Sassou Nguesso on March 20, after 32 years of reign followed a series of clashes and arrests after the opposition rejected the results calling it a sham.