Target: Alexis Tambwe Mwamba, Minister of Justice, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Goal: Free three youth activists who have been held incommunicado and denied bail.
Three youth activists, protesting the delay of the Congolese presidential election, have been arrested and denied bail. Bienvenu Matumo, Marcel Heritier Kambale Kapitene, and Victor Tesongo are prisoners of conscience, detained solely on the basis of their peaceful political beliefs, and should be released immediately.
Matumo and Heritier, members of the youth organization Lutte pour le Changement (LUCHA), were arrested on the day of a large strike protesting the delay of the presidential election. Tesongo was arrested the night before.
At first, authorities denied the arrests and held the men incommunicado for about three days until they were presented at the prosecutor’s office. They are being held on a provisional warrant and charged with “spreading rumors,” “incitement to disobedience,” and “undermining national security.” After they were denied bail, the men’s detention was extended for a further 15 days, a decision that their lawyers are appealing.
Bienvenu Matumo, Marc Heritier, and Victor Tesongo have done nothing except peacefully express their political beliefs, and the longer they remain in detention the greater their risk of being ill-treated. Sign the petition and demand that the charges against them be dropped.
Dear Minister Mwamba,
I am writing to urge the immediate release of Bienvenu Matumo, Marcel Heritier Kambale Kapitene, and Victor Tesongo, three youth activists who have recently been denied bail and had their provisional detention extended by 15 days. They have done nothing except peacefully express their political views, and they should not be imprisoned for that.
The three young men were all arrested on the eve of a large strike organized to protest the delay of the presidential election. At first, authorities denied that the men had been arrested. They were held incommunicado for three days before being presented at the prosecutor’s office and provisionally charged with “spreading rumors,” “incitement to disobedience,” and “undermining national security.”
This is unacceptable treatment of three young men who have committed no crime. I urge you to respect the universal right to freedom of expression and release these innocent men immediately.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: TryJimmy