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AFP
January 21, 2018

DR Congo group says detained activists could be tortured

World

AFP
January 21, 2018

KINSHASA: A pro-democracy movement has called for the release of five of its activists detained in the Democratic Republic of Congo, saying it fears they could be tortured.

The activists from the Filimbi movement, whose name means “whistle” in Swahili, are accused of “insulting the head of state and inciting a revolt”, according to their lawyer, Chris-Sam Kabeya. Four of the activists were arrested in Kinshasa on December 30 while trying to organise a protest march against the 17-year rule of President Joseph Kabila for the next day, New Year´s Eve. All were “detained in total secret since January 1, 2018... at the National Intelligence Agency (ANR) where they would be tortured,” according to a statement from the pro-democracy movement received by AFP on Saturday.

The fifth activist was held a week earlier in the eastern town of Kindu by the military intelligence service where he “was tortured”, said the statement. “To this day, it is difficult for us to confirm that they are still alive,” it added. “We condemn with the utmost energy these barbaric acts and demand the unconditional release of our activists.”

The New Year´s Eve anti-Kabila protest descended into violence after the authorities cracked down on demonstrators. Protest organisers said 12 people were killed, while the United Nations gave a toll of at least five dead — a figure that it said could be “far higher,” as its investigators had been barred from visiting morgues, hospitals and detention centres.

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