DRC: Salomon Kalonda file: Belgian lawyers persona non grata

DRC: Salomon Kalonda file: Belgian lawyers persona non grata

Salomon Kalonda, the special advisor to Moïse Katumbi, has still been locked up in Ndolo military prison for nearly 120 days. His Belgian lawyers did not receive the visa they had requested to assist their Congolese colleagues.

On May 30, the Congolese soldiers carried out a real kidnapping late in the morning at N’djili airport. Their target: Salomon Kalonda, the special advisor to Moïse Katumbi who was preparing to board the jet which was to take him back to Lubumbashi.

Since this date, Salomon Kalonda has been detained in the Ndolo military prison, far from the “VIP conditions” praised by certain leaders of the regime, the man appears more and more like a political prisoner in the hands of the military intelligence service (Demiap ) under the command of General Christian Ndaywell.

See you on September 18

The collective of Congolese lawyers is preparing its next hearing scheduled for Monday, September 18.

A meeting in which the two Belgian lawyers who joined the collective of Congolese defenders in mid-July should have participated. This will not be the case, we learned this Tuesday, September 12 that the visa they had requested for several weeks was not granted to them.

These Belgian lawyers, Alexis Deswaef and Dimitri de Beco, announced their intention to go to the DRC during their press conference held on July 13 in Brussels.

DRC: Salomon Kalonda, the bulky prisoner

No reason was given by the Congolese authorities to “justify” this refusal.

“In our capacity as lawyers, we requested a visa last month to be able to assist our client Salomon Kalonda before the Military Court”, confirms Alexis Deswaef. The lawyer goes on to explain that their client must appear “ this Monday, September 18. We were officially notified of a visa refusal. The Congolese authorities deny Salomon Kalonda the opportunity to organize his defense, refusing his Belgian lawyers to come and defend him alongside his Congolese lawyers. This refusal reflects the fear of the Congolese authorities. Fear in the face of the defense of what is just, in the face of the defense which denounces the crimes and offenses of this autocratic power. And a power that trembles in the face of lawyers defending human rights and fundamental freedoms is a power in dire straits, a power at the end of its rope. President Tshisekedi of 2023 has forgotten all the demands of the opponent Tshisikedi of 2018. He even denied them by recently claiming human rights abuses and arbitrary arrests. This is what Salomon Kalonda is currently experiencing, in prison for almost 120 days. We will continue the fight for justice and the rights of Salomon Kalonda, political prisoner in the DRC. »

Justice abused

Clearly, justice is poorly conducted in the DRC. This refusal comes in fact while a journalist was arrested on the eve of the weekend. Stanis Bujakera, correspondent for Jeune Afrique and executive of the Congolese site Actualité.cd, is being prosecuted for “propagation of false rumors” and the “dissemination of false information”, in relation to a report attributed to the National Intelligence Agency (ANR) on theassassination by Cherubin Okende, deputy and spokesperson for the Ensemble pour la République party, the same political group as Salomon Kalonda which defends the candidacy of Moïse Katumbi.

Like Salomon Kalonda, Stanis Bujakera was also unceremoniously arrested at N’djili airport as he was preparing to take off for Lubumbashi.

Two months to the day after the assassination of Chérubin Okende, the case appears to have been completely buried despite promises of transparency from the Congolese government.

DRC: Concern and protests 3 days after the arrest of a journalist

The international community, which has long turned a blind eye to the excesses of the Tshisekedi regime, seems to be emerging from its lethargy. The massacre of civilians perpetrated in Goma on August 30 by the Republican Guard, combined with all the facts cited above, have worn out the patience of many chancelleries four months before an already compromised presidential election.