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FREE STANIS BUJAKERA: Congolese Journalism Is On A Test, “I’m Not Giving Up”

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) visited the Congolese journalist arbitrarily imprisoned for six weeks in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Combative, Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala hopes that law and truth will ultimately triumph so that he can quickly regain his freedom.

A few hours after learning that the 4th request for provisional release filed by his lawyers had been rejected on Tuesday October 17, 2023, Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala received, in prison, an RSF delegation made up of its sub-Saharan Africa director, Sadibou Marong, his head of the investigation office, Arnaud Froger, and one of the journalist’s lawyers, Me Charles Mushizi.

“The morale is there. There is no question of me giving in in the face of imaginary accusations ,” declared the Jeune Afrique correspondent . He is accused of having distributed and “fabricated” an intelligence service document on which an investigation by the Pan-African magazine based in France published on August 31 is based. This document implicates another Congolese intelligence service in the death of a political opponent. The Congolese journalist, who was not a signatory to the article, was arrested on September 8.

Imprisoned in the Makala central prison in Kinshasa, Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala​​​​​​​ appeared calm and combative while the justice system persists in keeping him in detention despite accusations which have so far not been substantiated by no serious proof or testimony. Dressed in the yellow shirt characteristic of detention center inmates, he was determined, declaring that this affair is also “a test for the future of independent journalism in the DRC” .

“Stanis Bujakera is a professional journalist who has absolutely nothing to do in this prison, where RSF met him, three days before the opening of a new hearing this Friday, October 20. The charges against him are absurd. His continued detention is an aberration. As the presidential election approaches, this strategy of muzzling one of the country’s most eminent journalists casts a worrying discredit on the conditions in which this electoral process will take place.

Arnaud Froger
Head of the RSF investigation office

Makala Prison has a sinister reputation . More than 10,000 prisoners are currently staying in this establishment designed for seven times fewer prisoners. Access to drinking water is non-existent. Several dozen prisoners die each year from malnutrition or disease according to the Group for Research and Information on Peace and Security (GRIP), an independent research center based in Belgium.

Credit: Reporters without Borders

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