Thursday 21.6.2018 in Latest Developments in Republic of the Congo Country Page
Police arrested 23 members of the movement Ras-le-Bol for activities in their campaign to demand the release of political prisoners. On 7th May 2018, agents of the General Directorate of Territorial Surveillance arrested 20 of the movement's members in Point-Noire, while they were protesting in front of the Palais de Justice. Another three, including the movement's coordinator Frank Nzila, were arrested on 9th May in Brazzaville for hanging posters. The activists were accused of organising and participating in an unauthorised protest.
Organisation Congolaise de Défense des Droits de L’homme (Congolese Organisation of the Defense of Human Tights - OCDH) commented on the last three arrests, stating that:
"Taping posters is a form of expression guaranteed by law and can not constitute an offense".
Laurent Duarte, coordinator of Tournons la Page, concluded:
"The arrest and detention of members of the Ras-le-bol movement show that the Congolese authorities do not tolerate any dissident voices and that the repression against political or civil society actors has never stopped since the presidential election".
The actions of the Ras-le-Bol movement took place at a time when general Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko stood trial on charges of undermining the internal security of the state and disturbance of public order, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison on 11th May by the Criminal Court of Brazzaville. Mokoko, former Chief of Staff and adviser to President Denis Sassou Nguesso, was a candidate in the presidential elections in March 2016, and was arrested three months later.
Three activists in Brazzaville - Franck Nzila Malembé, Luce Bénédicte Gangoué and Dady Santso - were released on 6th June, and the three last activists who were arbitrarily detained - Julhphat Pregana, Franck Badiata and Vhan Kibamba - were released on 7th June.
As reported previously on the Monitor, a platform of NGOs launched the campaign #OnNeVousOubliezPas# in October 2017 for the release of about 100 political prisoners who had been arbitrarily detained, especially around the constitutional referendum of 25th October 2015 and the presidential election of 2016.
It is the #2nd night in a row that Vox TV journalist #FortunatNgolali remains in detention after a “fake news” complaint by a ruling party MP. He joins #Talassa editor #GhysFortuneBemba detained without trial since Jan 2017. @SassouCG must #FreeThePress. #Congo #Brazzaville https://t.co/4omGPg7zfa— Angela Quintal (@angelaquintal) 3 juni 2018
Journalist Fortunat Ngouolali of VoxTV was detained on 2nd June in Brazzaville after a deputy of the ruling presidential majority complained that Ngouolali recorded and then shared on social networks exchanges that had been made between two leaders of the Parti Congolais du Travail during a secret meeting.