December 3, 2015

Urgent Action Update: Opposition Member Facing New Charges (Republic of Congo: UA 274/15)

Additional charges were brought against Paulin Makaya on 6 January in connection with a shooting at the central prison of Brazzaville on 29 December 2016, while six of his acquaintances were visiting. A decision in the appeal against his earlier conviction is expected to be delivered on 21 February by the Appeal Court of Brazzaville. 
Paulin Makaya, the leader of the opposition political party ‘Unis Pour le Congo’ (UPC), is now accused of compromising national security, murder, complicity of escape and complicity of unlawful possession of arms and munitions of war in connection with a shooting that took place on 29 December 2016 in the central prison of Brazzaville. Makaya learnt of these charges against him as well as the launch of a judicial investigation in a public statement made by the prosecutor on National TV.  According to information received by Amnesty International, the shooting happened just after six of his acquaintances who were visiting him were arrested and brought to the office of the prison director. The six have since been charged as Makaya’s accomplices in the incident.  
There are concerns over Makaya’s health as he has been suffering from purulent wounds, headache and fever for more than a week. He has been denied access to his personal doctor and has instead been treated by the prison doctor. Even though he was prescribed antibiotics by the prison doctor, his health condition is getting worse. Paulin Makaya is now only allowed visits two days per week.
A decision in the appeal against Paulin Makaya’s earlier conviction to two years imprisonment and a fine of 3,800 euros is expected to be delivered on 21 February by the Appeal Court of Brazzaville. He was convicted on 25 July 2016 for participating in an ‘unauthorized protest’. 
Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:
  • Calling on the Congolese authorities to release Paulin Makaya immediately and unconditionally, as he is a prisoner of conscience who is detained simply for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly; 
  • Urging them to ensure that, pending his release, Paulin Makaya is not subjected to torture and other ill-treatment and is allowed regular access to his lawyer, to family visits and to the medical care he may require; 
  • Urging them to end all forms of intimidation and harassment against political opposition members and human rights defenders in Congo, including through the misuse of the criminal justice system. 
Contact these two officials by 21 March, 2017:
President of the Republic 
Denis Sassou Nguesso 
Palais du Peuple, Quartier Plateau 
Brazzaville – Congo
Salutation: Your Excellency
H. E. Ambassador Serge Mombouli
Embassy of the Republic of Congo
1720 16th Street, NW, Washington DC 20009
Phone: (202) 726-5500 
Fax: (202) 726-1860
Salutation: Your Excellency  
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