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EDITOR WHO FEARED FOR HIS LIFE MURDERED

A journalist who feared for his life and had asked the authorities for protection was shot while getting into his vehicle in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, report Journalist in Danger (Journaliste en danger, JED), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and other IFEX members. He later died in hospital.

Serge Maheshe Kasole, news editor at UN-backed Radio Okapi in Bukavu, was approached by unidentified gunmen on 13 June while he and two friends were getting into his car, which bore the UN logo. The gunmen ordered the men to sit on the ground and then shot Maheshe point blank. The two friends were able to escape. According to CPJ, two suspects have been arrested.

In May, JED had received emails from Maheshe describing the insults and death threats directed at him during a recent argument he had with soldiers near his home. He told JED that government and military officials at the provincial and national level had assured him that they would "follow up" on his case. But he also said that he had "no illusions, remained cautious, and continued to fear the behaviour of these soldiers" towards himself and his family, who live in the area.

CPJ reports that in 2004, Maheshe was one of four journalists who received threats after rebel forces invaded Bukavu. The callers threatened they would "deal" with him because he worked for the UN, which had "sold Bukavu out."

JED is appealing to the government to create a joint committee of investigation to shed light on Maheshe's case.

Visit these links:
- JED (French): http://tinyurl.com/2levnf
- JED (English): http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/84132/
- CPJ: http://www.cpj.org/news/2007/africa/drc14jun07na.html
- Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières): http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=22539
- International Federation of Journalists:
http://www.ifj.org/default.asp?Index=5015&Language=EN
(19 June 2007)

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