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HomeBreaking NewsTSHISEKEDI'S INTOLERANCE: State Apparatus Used To Arbitrary Arrest Satirical Comedian Junior Nkole

TSHISEKEDI’S INTOLERANCE: State Apparatus Used To Arbitrary Arrest Satirical Comedian Junior Nkole

The arbitrary arrest of a satirical artiste, Junior Nkole, by President Felix Tshisekedi’s special agents, ANR, has attracted the attention of the Human Rights Commission.

THE FULL NARRATION

On February 10, government security agents arrested satirical comedian Junior Nkole in central Kinshasa in the latest attack on freedom of expression in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Junior Nkole’s relatives told Human Rights Watch that he and his brother Serge Nkole were waiting for a meeting with a professional contact in the restaurant of the Hotel Mayotte. At around 10 a.m., in what appears to have been a trap, a dozen men in civilian clothes, who turned out to be agents of the DR Congo’s National Intelligence Agency (ANR), showed up. They brutalized the two men, forced them into a 4×4 with tinted windows and took them to an ANR office. Authorities released Serge a few hours later, but Junior is still in custody.

Junior Nkole, 25, appears to be detained for his work. He is known throughout the country for his videos that depict the socio-economic realities of Congolese society. Active on social networks since 2020, he has accumulated more than 300,000 subscribers. ANR agents suggested to a family member that his arrest was linked to a short video sketch posted a year ago which they considered insulting to President Felix Tshisekedi. The sketch denounced the ethnic favoritism (tribalism) of recruiters, who only hire candidates from their own region and ethnic group. In the video, Nkole – himself of ethnic Luba, like President Félix Tshisekedi – poses as a Luba recruiter who rejects applicants from other communities.

Another brother of Junior, Pascal Nkole, visited him at “3Z”, an infamous ANR prison where he had been transferred, almost a week after his arrest. “I was allowed to see him without talking to him,” his brother said. “He had lost weight and his left eye was swollen and red. He seemed to have a fever and couldn’t walk properly. I asked him if he was okay, and he just shook his head. I haven’t seen him since. »

Under Congolese law, anyone detained has the right to receive legal aid and must be brought before a competent judicial authority within 48 hours of their arrest. Nkole was cleared of neither, nor was he charged with any crime.

Nkole’s case highlights the climate of growing intolerance towards dissenting voices in DR Congo, with attacks targeting journalists, activists, government critics and peaceful protesters. The authorities should immediately release Junior Nkole and allow him to practice his profession and express his opinions without fear of arrest. As DR Congo prepares for elections scheduled for the end of the year, the government should guarantee respect for civil liberties, essential components of a free, fair and transparent electoral process.

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