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Prominent human rights defender slain

After exposing abuses by the security forces and government for years, an extremely vocal Congolese rights defender was found dead on 1 June, report Journaliste en Danger (JED) and Human Rights Watch.

Floribert Chebeya was executive director of one of the country's most highly regarded human rights organisations, Voix des Sans Voix pour les Droits de l'Homme (Voice of the Voiceless for Human Rights), based in the capital, Kinshasa. On 1 June he was summoned to a meeting with the inspector general of police. The next day, police reported his body was discovered in the back seat of his car. Chebeya's driver is still missing.

"Floribert Chebeya's shocking death is a serious blow for human rights in the Congo," said Human Rights Watch. "The announced police investigation needs UN help if it is to be credible and transparent and bring all those responsible to justice."

Chebeya had been threatened and intimidated by authorities over the years because of his work. He recently reported he was once again under surveillance by security forces.

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