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JED STAFF THREATENED WITH DEATH

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is using the occasion of President Joseph Kabila's state visit to France to draw attention to threats made against its partner organisation - and IFEX member - in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Journalist in Danger (JED).

On 7 July, JED received an anonymous email from a Yahoo! address insulting the organisation and making death threats. The message read, "Many people have already paid the price and that could happen to you at any time especially as we are here with you and you cannot identify us. We could have easily done it already, but the time will come."

A man identifying himself as the author of the email made a threatening phone call to one of the JED staff a week later.

This is not the first time JED has been targeted. JED's leaders have been exposed to frequent anonymous death threats and insults over the past three years.

Last year, the threats made against executive director Donat M'Baya Tshimanga and secretary-general Tshivis Tshivuadi resulted in the two men having to leave the country temporarily. The JED staff had publicly criticised the way the authorities handled the investigation into the 2007 murder of Serge Maheshe, the news editor of an UN-backed radio station in Bukavu.

JED has reported the threats numerous times to the prosecutor-general's office, but no action has ever been taken.

"JED is a major asset for your country and is playing a key role in the transition of which you are in charge," RSF said in its letter to Kabila, who was in France on 16-17 July. "We therefore ask you to ensure that JED's members are protected and to do everything you can to put a stop to the threats against them. We have strong reasons to fear that these threats could be carried out."

Visit these links:
- JED: http://www.jed-congo.org/
- RSF: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=27846
(23 July 2008)

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