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Congo
09.02.01
Urgent Interventions

Congo-Brazzaville: alleged arbitrary arrest of 19 asylum seekers in Brazzaville

Case COG 090201

The International Secretariat of OMCT requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in Congo-Brazzaville.

Brief description of the situation

The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by the Comité des Observateurs des Droits de l’Homme, (CODHO), a member of the OMCT network of the alleged arbitrary arrest of 19 asylum seekers, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, in Brazzaville.

These are :
1. Materanya Kasisi Henri
2. Marhegane Bishanvu Pascal
3. Baguma Safari Gervais
4. Balungwe Birhashwirwa Depho
5. Bugogero Kabona Marcelin
6. Munganga Ndjaki André
7. Yenga Muhindo Georges
8. Bakenga Kakomere Cyprien
9. Companyi Kizito Yves
10. Bashizi Mufungizi Yamaki
11. Bahaya Maheshe Bernard
12. Malekera Balol’Ebwami Vital
13. Basole Baziraboba Théodore
14. Bisimwa Cubaya Jimmy
15. Cikuru Chambu Marcelin
16. Kikuni Longoma Justin
17. Muzima Mwenyezi Césaire
18. Balegamire Bafunyembaka Joseph
19. Kashindi Mubone Elias

According to the information received, they were arrested on 28 January 2001 by police in Brazzaville. The police arrived at their homes at about 5 am, without an arrest warrant nor giving any reason for their arrest. The 19 men originate from the Congolese provinces of North Kivu, South Kivu and Maniema (in the East of the country) and have allegedly been sought after in Kinshasa since October 2000, suspected of a failed attempted coup against the late President Kabila

The detainees have spent 48 hours without anything to eat or drink and were successively guarded: on 28 January 2001, in the police jails of the ‘Plateau’ from 5 am to 5 pm; the night of 28 and 29 January 2001 in the jails of the DGST (Direction Générale de la Sécurité du Territoire). From 29 January 2001 to date in the jail of the ‘Departement Chargé de l’Interrogatoire.’

According to the CODHO, the Protection Service of the UNHCR/Brazzaville has requested that the authorities in Brazzaville release these detainees, but without success. The 19 have been photographed by the police and the rumours circulating are that some of them will be handed over the authorities in Kinashasa.

Furthermore, since 10 January 2001, the CODHO has received information that security service agents from Kinshasa have been closely surveying the movements of certain Congolese refugees and asylum seekers in Brazzaville. These agents have been seen hanging around the offices of the UNHCR/Brazzaville with the aim of apprehending certain persons and taking them back to Kinshasa by force.

Moreover, those Congolese refugees and asylum seekers who feel threatened with arrest have dispersed into the city with their families.

OMCT and the CODHO are gravely concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of the above-mentioned persons and other refugees and asylum seekers from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Furthermore, such action by the authorities in Congo-Brazzaville constitute a violation of Article II of the Convention of the Organisation of African Unity.

Action requested

Please write to the authorities in Congo-Brazzaville urging them to:

i. take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of the above-mentioned persons as well as all other asylum seekers and refugees in Congo-Brazzaville;
ii. order the immediate release of the above-mentioned persons in the absence of valid legal charges or, if such charges exist, bring them before an impartial and competent tribunal and guarantee their procedural rights at all times;
iii. guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards.

Addresses

Président Denis Sassou Nguesso, Présidence de la République, Boîte Postale : 2006 Brazzaville, Tel / Fax : ( 242) 81 32 55.

Ministre de la Justice, Boîte Postale : 2497 Brazzaville, Fax : (242) 81 41 67

Ministre de l’Intérieur et de la Sécurité, Fax :C/ Présidence de la République (242) 81 32 55

Please also send a copy of your letter to :

Président Joseph Kabila, Présidence de la République, Kinshasa-Ngaliema, République Démocratique du Congo. Fax (+ 243) 880 02 120

Geneva, February 9, 2001

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
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