Congolese human rights activists, Alexandre Ibacka Dzabana and Christ Dongui, are being arbitrary detained in connection to their human rights work and criticism of the government. In March, they were both arrested in front of their house by unidentified men, forced into vehicles and taken to the Central Intelligence and Documentation Center. They were eventually presented to a prosecutor and charged with breach of State security and sent to Brazzaville central prison where they remain held in pre-trial detention solely for peacefully exercising their human rights. They must be immediately and unconditionally released.
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Minister of Justice, Ange Aimé Bininga
Ministre de la justice et des droits humains et de la promotion des peuples autochtones
Avenue Charles de Gaulle, B.P.1375, Brazzaville, Congo
Email: [email protected]
Ambassador Serge Mombouli
Embassy of the Republic of Congo
1720 16th Street NW, Washington DC 20009
Phone: 202 726 5500 I Fax: 202 726 1860
Email: [email protected]
Salutation: Dear Ambassador
I am writing to you to express concern about the cases of human right activists Alexandre Ibacka Dzabana
and Christ Dongui
who are currently held in pre-trial detention at the Brazzaville central prison, in the capital. Alexandre Ibacka Dzabana is the president of the movement M22 and coordinator of the Congolese Platform of NGOs of Human Rights and Democracy, and Christ Dongui, the vice-president of the association Ras le Bol. They were both arrested in front of their house by unidentified men, on March 11 and March 25 2021, respectively, and taken to the Central Intelligence and Documentation Center (CID) in Brazzaville. During their detention at the CID, they were denied access to their families and lawyers. On April 9, 2021 they were brought before a prosecutor and charged with breach of State security. They were sent to Brazzaville central prison where they remain held in pre-trial detention. The date of their trial is still unknown.
Ras le Bol advocated for fair and transparent elections ahead of the March 21, 2021 presidential poll. On March 24, 2021, the day before his arrest, he attended a press conference to denounce alleged irregularities in the presidential poll. Alexandre Ibacka Dzabana is a well-known critic of the regime. He participated in the organization of a demonstration calling for “an inclusive national dialogue” between the government, the opposition parties and civil society organizations and the release of political prisoners on March 6, 2021. The demonstration was banned by authorities. Therefore, Amnesty International is concerned that Alexandre Ibacka Dzabana and Christ Dongui’s arrest and detention are linked to their peaceful human rights and political activism which are in accordance with the peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
Alexandre Ibacka Dzabana, who is 77 years old, suffers from high blood pressure that makes him more vulnerable to Covid-19. It is thus even more important that the authorities comply with Resolution 466 – 2020 of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which calls states to release human rights defenders as part of wider measures to reduce overcrowding in prisons and other places of detention.
In this regard, I urge Your Excellency to immediately and unconditionally release Alexandre Ibacka Dzabana and Christ Dongui who are being detained solely in connection to their peaceful activism. Pending their release, the two activists must have regular and unfettered access to their lawyer and families and be protected from torture and other ill-treatment.