Human Rights Activist Arrested in Congo

A human rights activist and former

presidential candidate has been

arrested by the Congolese government

for allegedly trying to foment rebellion

in the troubled eastern province

of the vast African nation.

Human rights campaigners have

condemned the arrest.  

The government issued a statement saying
human rights activist Firmin Yangabi
was arrested last Wednesday
by military police as he tried to organize
an arms shipment from the capital Kinshasa
to the eastern town of Kisangani.

Yangabi, a candidate for Congo's 2006

presidential elections, is accused

of trying to provoke insurrection

in the country's volatile eastern province.

Lambert Mende, spokesman for

the Congolese government, says

military police arrested Firmin Yangabi,

president of the human rights group

Peace on Earth, last Wednesday.

He says Yangabi was moving a shipment

of weapons from Kinshasha to Kisangani

with the aim of fomenting rebellion

in the east of the country.

Yangabi was brought to Kinshasa

on Sunday where he will stand

before a military tribunal.

Mende did not comment on the arms

or the groups involved, saying

the case is a matter for the justice system.

On 24 July, the human rights activist

Golden Misabiko was arrested and

imprisoned for questioning mining practices

at the Shinkolobwe uranium mine

in the southern Katanga province.

Misabiko was charged with

'threatening state security' for publishing

a report denouncing a government deal

with French nuclear power firm Areva.

A 2004 United Nations assessment

said the Shinkolobwe mine should

remain closed due to a high risk

of mine collapses and

potential exposure to radiation.

Mende says human rights groups are

using wordy phraseology to cover up

their criminal activities.

He says Yangabi's case is similar to

the Shinkolobwe mine case where

human rights groups published

false reports about the government.

U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton

asked President Joseph Kabila about

the Misabiko arrest during her visit

to the eastern city of Goma in August.

Congolese Foreign Minister Alexis

Thambwe-Mwamba defended

Kinshasa's human rights record

as a rare example in Africa where

there is liberty and freedom of the press.

The International human rights group,

Global Witness, have condemned

the arrests and called

for all charges to be dropped.

Link here

             J-L K.
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