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DRC: Army court acquits rapper jailed for 'insulting President'

Nzanzu Muyisa Makasi was sentenced to two years last December after releasing a song criticizing authorities for the security crisis in eastern Congo   -  
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Democratic Republic Of Congo

A Congolese rapper sentenced in December to two years in prison for "insulting the head of state" has been acquitted on appeal by a military court in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, his lawyer said Thursday.

"Nzanzu Muyisa Makasi was acquitted and released on Wednesday by the military court of North Kivu at the end of his appeal trial" opened in March in Goma, the provincial capital, Patrick Mukomba told AFP.

The judges considered that "the facts accused of our client were not established, which is true, because Mr. Nzanzu has only denounced the atrocities taking place in Beni", a territory in the east of the country plagued by violence and massacres of civilians since 2014, the lawyer explained.

Nzanzu Muyisa Makasi, a 29-year-old singer, was sentenced in December to two years in prison for "insulting the head of state."

The military justice accused him of the wording of the title of his song: "+Pas de président+ in which he says, among other things, that +le pays n'est pas dirigé+", referring to the fact that the authorities have been struggling to put an end to the war in the east of the DRC for the past 25 years, added Mr. Mukomba.

Originally from Butembo, the rapper Nzanzu Muyisa, had lost his father in 2015 in Beni during an attack by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels, a group presented by the Islamic State jihadist organization as its branch in Central Africa.

Another rapper, Delphin Katembo, alias Idengo, a critic of the army, who was sentenced to ten years in prison in another case, is still in detention. His next appeal hearing is scheduled for May 27.

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