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Two journalists held by police in Kisangani

UPDATE: Journalists released on bail after spending two weeks in jail (in French) (JED, 23 May 2012)

(JED/IFEX) - Kinshasa, 10 May 2012 - Sébastien Mulamba and Mbuyi Mukadi, publisher and managing editor, respectively, with the newspaper Kisangani News, a Kisangani-based privately-owned monthly, are being detained illegally in the city's police station.

Mulamba and Mbuyi were arrested on 9 May, at approximately 5 p.m. local time, by three plainclothes officers from police intelligence. The journalists are accused of "libeling" Member of Parliament Alphonse Awenze Makiaba.

According to JED's information, the two journalists were arrested during a sting operation at a restaurant where they had been invited to meet with one of Awenze's associates. The person had asked to meet with them to discuss a possible article for the paper. Mulamba and Mbuyi were taken to police headquarters, where they were first interrogated at length about a 15 April article before being jailed.

On 15 April, Kisangani News published an article titled, "The Folly of Power: the Honourable Awenze steals Mr. Lokadi's wife, Ekodi Liliane," in which Mulamba condemned the extramarital affair. Mulamba told JED that they had been contacted about the story by Ekodi's husband. "On 27 April, we met with Awenze's lawyer, who promised to send us a reply for publication in our 15 May issue. [On 9 May,] we got a phone call from Awenze's associate who wanted to meet us at the restaurant to give us an article for publication," Mulumba said.

JED condemns the police's illegal detention of Mulamba and Mbuyi and urges Kisangani officials to order their immediate release.

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