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Congo: General Mokoko's lawyers ask IMF to demand for his release

Congo: General Mokoko's lawyers ask IMF to demand for his release

Republic of the Congo

Lawyers for jailed Congo Republic opposition figure Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko called on the International Monetary Fund to make his release a condition for the approval of a bailout for the debt-crippled oil producer.

Mokoko, a former army chief who ran as a candidate in a 2016 presidential election, was jailed for 20 years this month after his conviction on charges that he sought to topple the government of President Denis Sassou-Nguesso.

Congo – IMF negotiations

Congo’s negotiations with the IMF have

dragged

on since last year. But last month the Fund said it would propose a deal once the central African nation had fulfilled conditions including negotiating with creditors to make its debt sustainable.

Mokoko’s Paris-based lawyers Jessica Finelle and Etienne Arnaud wrote to IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde on Tuesday requesting that Congo’s human rights situation be factored into any decision.

“We call upon the IMF to make the agreement about to be ratified by the board conditional upon the end of repression of members of the political opposition … and the immediate release of Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko,” it said.

Mokoko’s supporters said his prosecution was an attempt by Sassou-Nguesso, who has ruled the central African nation for all but five of the past 38 years, to use the courts to stifle dissent.

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