Annual Report: Republic of the Congo 2010

Report
May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Republic of the Congo 2010

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Reacting to the July demonstrations, the government banned all opposition demonstrations. They also barred opposition leaders from travelling out of the capital or the country, including former Prime Minister Ange Edouard Poungui and former president of the Congolese Bar Association Ambroise Hervé Malonga. Government and security officials said that the opposition leaders were wanted in connection with investigations into acts of violence allegedly committed during the July demonstrations. The government lifted the travel restrictions in early November after protests by the leaders affected and local human rights organizations. None of the opposition leaders subjected to restrictions was charged.

  • Four foreign journalists who covered the elections and demonstrations were harassed by the security forces. Arnaud Zajtman and Marlène Rabaud of France 24 television, and Thomas Fessy of the BBC, had their equipment confiscated. Catherine Ninin of Radio France International was reportedly threatened with violence. A government spokesman accused the journalists of publishing false information before and after the elections, and of bias towards government opponents.

Repression of dissent - arrests

Several people linked to opposition political parties were detained in the aftermath of the July elections. Former army lieutenant Céléstin Ngalouo and two others in charge of opposition presidential candidate Mathias Dzon's security were arrested soon after the July demonstrations in Brazzaville. Government officials said that those arrested were wanted in connection with shootings during the demonstrations. The opposition denied that any of their supporters had opened fire and blamed the shootings on government forces. Those arrested were released without charge several weeks later.

  • Former army colonel Ferdinand Mbahou was arrested in July after he returned from France, where he had lived for more than 10 years. He had returned to help heal rifts within the leadership of the Pan-African Union for Social Democracy (Union panafricaine pour la démocratie sociale) party.The authorities said that he was arrested in connection with inflammatory speeches he had made in France. He was still held without charge at the end of the year.

Asylum-seekers

  • Three asylum-seekers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo spent a fifth year in military detention without charge or trial. Germain Ndabamenya Etikilome, Médard Mabwaka Egbonde and Bosch Ndala Umba were arrested in 2004 in Brazzaville. Germain Ndabamenya Etikilome was seriously ill early in the year and for several weeks did not receive treatment. His health improved after he received medication. Despite many requests, the authorities failed to give any reason for the men's continued detention.