Democratic Republic of Congo: Reaction to arrest of youth activists on 15 March
"The arrest of 18 peaceful youth activists in the Democratic Republic of Congo is yet another shameful attempt by the authorities to restrict citizens’ ability to peacefully express themselves in the lead up to elections scheduled for later this year,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.
“They must be immediately and unconditionally released for they committed no crime when they peacefully protested the continued unlawful detention of their colleagues, Fred Bauma and Yves Makwambala, on trumped up charges.”
“Bauma and Makwambala, who on 15 March completed a year in jail, must also be released, as well as all other activists arrested for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression and assembly. Their arrests violate international law and DRC’s own constitution.”
Fred Bauma and Yves Makwambala were arrested on 15 March 2015 with at least 25 others at a press conference where Filimbi, a youth movement, was being launched. They spent 50 and 40 days in incommunicado detention respectively.
Apart from Fred and Yves, all others were released in the following days, including youth activists from Burkina Faso and Senegal, international journalists, and a US diplomat.
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