Political Prisoners and Detainees
There were reports of political prisoners and detainees but no reliable estimates of the number. The government sometimes permitted access to political prisoners by international groups.
According to AI, on June 16, a military tribunal sentenced Fernando Kutino and two colleagues to 20 years following a brief trial. Kutino was originally charged with incitement to hatred after a May speech critical of the president; following the speech, broadcast by a radio station owned by Kutino's church, armed assailants in civilian clothes destroyed and looted the station's equipment on May 22, forcing it off the air. Press freedom NGO Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) alleged that the assailants were police officers. The court changed the charge to illegal possession of firearms, criminal conspiracy, and attempted murder (although the alleged victim refused to implicate Kutino). AI claimed that the court used evidence extracted from Kutino's codefendants under torture, and defense lawyers walked out nine days before the guilty verdict to protest the conduct of the trial. Kutino remained incarcerated at the end of the year.
On February 1, the Court of State Security sentenced Jeannete Abidje to 12 months in prison for offenses against the head of state. She claimed the president fathered her five-year-old daughter by raping her during his time as a soldier. Abidje remained in prison at year's end.
Read more about this topic: Human Rights In The Democratic Republic Of The Congo, Respect For The Integrity of The Person, Denial of Fair Public Trial
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