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Journalist held in police detention for 17 days

(JED/IFEX) – JED strongly condemns the detention by Congolese national police of journalist Dédé Ilunga, a reporter for Radio Océan, a community radio station based in Fungurume, Katanga province, southeastern DRC. Ilunga was held for 17 days in a police cell before being released on 22 September 2011.

According to JED sources, police special services agents arrested Ilunga without a warrant on 5 September, at around 3:00 p.m., and took him by force to police headquarters, where he was kept in a holding cell. The journalist was accused of "inciting rebellion" and working for the opposition. Ilunga is alleged to have criticised President Joseph Kabila's five-point public works programme in a radio programme entitled "Oasis".

Reached by JED in his cell earlier this week, Ilunga said he was questioned at length about his remarks when he appeared before a Lubudi court on 12 September. The journalist said his lawyers had requested his release as there was no case against him.

JED condemns this illegal and prolonged detention, which constitutes a serious free expression violation and provides further proof of the political intolerance that has defined this electoral period.

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