Five activists arrested and charged

Between 23rd November 2019 and 22nd December 2019, five young activists, including Celeste Nlemvo Makela of the citizen movement Ras-le-Bol were arrested in Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire. The other four are: Parfait Mabiala, Franck Donald Saboukoulou, Guil Ossebi and Meldry Dissavoulou.

According to Amnesty International, the five were arrested on rumours of a planned protest and were interrogated on their links to the opposition movement Incarner l’Espoir led by André Ngombet, a political opponent who resides in France and announced his candidacy for the 2021 presidential elections. The Ras-le-Bol activist, Celeste Nlemvo Makela was charged with ‘incitement causing public disorder’ under the 2006 Law on Political Parties while the other four were charged with ‘violating the internal security of the state’.

Fabien Offner of Amnesty International commented:

“In a country where the authorities claim to promote human rights and deny the existence of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, what we have seen in the last years and what we are now witnessing clearly shows an ongoing detention of opposition supporters, human rights defenders and activists. This is a sign that the authorities are intensifying the onslaught on dissenting voices.”

On 3rd March 2020, another Ras-le-Bol activist, Hallel Bouesse, was detained at the Maya Maya International Airport on his way to Dakar. He was reportedly taken to the General Directorate of Territorial Surveillance and interrogated on his relation to the Incarner l'Espoir movement and a national human rights organisation. Bouesse was released later that day.