DRC: 20 years in prison required for journalist Stanis Bujakera

DRC: 20 years in prison required for journalist Stanis Bujakera

Six months to the day after his arrest, the prosecution requested on Friday in Kinshasa 20 years in prison against the Congolese journalist Stanis Bujakera, tried for an article of which he was not a signatory which questioned military intelligence, directed by the General Christian Ndaywell, of Belgian nationality, in the death of the opponent Chérubin Okende.

“You are going to sentence him to 20 years of main penal servitude”, in particular for counterfeiting, forgery, use of forgery, propagation of false rumors, declared prosecutor Serge Bashonga to the court sitting in the prison where the journalist is detained.

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The prosecution's indictment was immediately followed by the defense's pleadings, which contest all the accusations brought against Stanis Bujakera. “When you withdraw (…), you will pay it”, one of his lawyers, Me Papy Niango, told the judges.

“I request my total acquittal”, also said the journalist.

The court will render its decision by March 20, its president then announced.

Stanis Bujakera was arrested on September 8 and has been on trial since October, with a hearing every two or three weeks.

He is accused of “having fabricated and distributed” a civil intelligence note incriminating military intelligence in the death of Chérubin Okende, whose bloodied body was found on July 13 in his car.

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It was on this note that Stanis Bujakera's unsigned article in Jeune Afrique was based, which led to his arrest.

During Friday's hearing, the prosecutor considered that this article had been written “for political purposes”, to “attribute (the death of Chérubin Okende) to the President of the Republic (Félix Tshisekedi), to his relatives”.

On February 29, the prosecution announced that the “autopsy” and “expertise” had established that the opponent had “committed suicide”.


The Attorney General at the Court of Cassation, Firmin Mvonde, then deplored “the gossip” surrounding this affair and threatened with arrest anyone who publicly contested the conclusions of the prosecution.

Since the arrest of Stanis Bujakera, correspondent for Jeune Afrique, the Reuters news agency and deputy director of the Congolese online media Actualité.cd, calls have multiplied, in vain, for his release.

On February 22, a statement from Félix Tshisekedi raised hopes of the journalist's release. The president, considering that Stanis Bujakera was “maybe victim” of the “tergiversations” of justice ” sick “, then announced his intention to “put your nose in” in the file.

The next day, his lawyers filed a new request for release, but it was rejected, like all the previous ones.

Amnesty International, ruling that the journalist had been arrested “on the basis of trumped-up accusations”, once again asked Friday, on the occasion of his six months of detention, his “immediate release”.

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“His continued arbitrary detention amounts to judicial harassment, intended to send a frightening message to other journalists and to all free voices in the DRC. This parody must stop”Sarah Jackson, Amnesty's deputy regional director for Eastern and Southern Africa, said in a statement.

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