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DRC: journalist Stanis Bujakera transferred to Makala prison

DRC: journalist Stanis Bujakera transferred to Makala prison
Stanis Bujakera, Congolese journalist and deputy publishing director of the media Actualité   -  
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Democratic Republic Of Congo

Congolese journalist Stanis Bujakera, arrested by police on September 8 in Kinshasa, was transferred to prison on Thursday, despite protests and numerous calls for his release, we learned from his media.

Stanis Bujakera is suspected in particular of "spreading false rumors and disseminating false information for an article published by Jeune Afrique implicating military intelligence in the assassination of former minister Chérubin Okende", according to the Congolese news site Actualité .cd, of which he is deputy publishing director.

This article, published at the end of August, which was not signed by Stanis Bujakera , was based on a confidential note presented as coming from the civil intelligence services (ANR), a note which the Congolese authorities then assured was 'a false document.

Arrested on the evening of September 8 at Ndjili airport in Kinshasa , while he was preparing to leave for Lubumbashi (south-east), Stanis Bujakera, also a correspondent for the Reuters agency, was presented to the prosecution on Monday, after spending three days in police custody.

“He was transferred to Makala prison”, the largest prison in Kinshasa, Patient Ligodi, boss of Actualité.cd, told AFP.

Mr. Bujakera's defense has submitted to the prosecution "a request for provisional release" and is awaiting the decision, Me Grace Tshiashala told AFP.

Since the journalist's arrest, several embassies have expressed their concerns, just over three months before the general elections scheduled for December 20.

Congolese personalities and organizations defending press freedom have increased protests and demands for the release of Stanis Bujakera.

“The authorities must drop the false charges against Stanis Bujakera and release him immediately and unconditionally ,” said Sarah Jackson, deputy director of Amnesty International's East and Southern Africa programme.

“This is yet further proof of the large-scale attack that the DRC authorities, under the leadership of President Félix Tshisekedi, have launched against human rights,” she added, quoted in a press release .

The Congolese organization RAJEC - Rally of Journalists for the Emergence of Congo - threatened on Wednesday to take to the streets if Mr. Bujakera was not released within 72 hours. His arrest is “an autocratic attempt to silence all dissonant voices and prevent independent journalists from carrying out their activities,” according to RAJEC.

“It is not good news that a journalist is going to prison,” said Communications Minister Patrick Muyaya on Thursday evening, when questioned during a press briefing.

“We hope that the case (...) can be resolved quickly ,” he added.

“Freedom of the press is a cardinal value of democracy, but also a freedom which does not give a blank check to disinformation or exploitation,” said the minister.

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