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[Press Release] Democratic Republic of Congo: Arrest of a human rights activist in the Province of Nord Kivu

February 2012

[English] [français]

Paris, Goma, 13 February 2012

The International federation of ACAT (FIACAT) and the ACAT RDC are seriously concerned about the arrest of a human rights activist, a member of the Nord Kivu branch of the Congolese ACAT, by the Agence nationale de renseignements (ANR – National Investigation Agency).

On 11 February 2012 at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, ATHNASE KANYAMANDA was arrested close to his home in Jomba by members of the Agence nationale des renseignements (ANR) of Rutshuru in the Province of Nord-Kivu and taken to an unknown destination.

Athnase Kanyamanda had already been the victim of several acts of intimidation by a commander of the Congolese armed forces (FARDC) three months previously because he had denounced certain human rights violations.

Following his arrest, the members of the Nord Kivu branch of ACAT, of which he is a member, tried to find out where he was being held and the charges against him. They also demanded his release. They learnt that he was being held by the police at the UNOPS post in the main town of the district of Rusthuru but did not obtain any further information.

FIACAT calls on the Congolese authorities to respect their international obligations, on the basis of which any person arrested must be informed of the charges against him and his relatives must be informed of his place of detention. It also reminds them that torture and any cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment are the subject of a total ban under the United Nations Convention Against Torture, which the Democratic Republic of Congo ratified on 17 February 1989.

FIACAT calls on the Congolese authorities to take all necessary measures to ensure that Athnase Kanyamanda enjoys all the procedural guarantees provided for under international law and Congolese law, in particular Article 18 of the Constitution of 2006 which provides that "Any person who has been arrested must be immediately informed of the reasons for his/her arrest and of any accusation made against him/her, and this in a language which he/she understands. He/she must be immediately informed of his/her rights. A person kept in custody has the right to immediately contact his/her family and his/her counsel."

FIACAT demands that every effort be made to ensure that he is not tortured or subjected to any other form of ill-treatment and that he be allowed to contact his relatives and lawyer without delay.

FIACAT demands his immediate release if no charge is to be made against him.

Press contact:
- Sabrina Aït-Aoudia – saa@fiacat.org

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