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Radio Liberté journalist released after two weeks in detention

(JED/IFEX) - Kinshasa, 28 May 2012 - Journaliste en danger (JED) welcomes the 26 May release of Radio Liberté journalist Pili Pili Kasaï. Military officials also returned the station's equipment, including its transmitter, in a move that signals the probable lifting of the station's suspension in the near future. Radio Liberté is a privately-owned Butembo-based station.

Radio Liberté director Ulriche Muhindu told JED that officials had authorised the station to reinstall its transmitter. "The station's equipment was returned but we were advised that the lifting of the suspension order would have to be authorised by the mayor," Muhindo said.

Butembo Mayor Sikuli Masaka had earlier ordered Radio Liberté's three-month suspension, accusing it of broadcasting news that was likely to demotivate army troops who are battling mutineers.

Journalist Pili Pili Kasaï was arrested at his home on 13 May 2012. This followed a telephone interview he carried out four days earlier with General La Fontaine, a militia leader, and Colonel Kahasa, a former armed forces officer, who had announced their intention to fight army troops in order to seize control of several areas of the province.

That same day, Radio Liberté's studios were raided by soldiers, police and intelligence officers who confiscated the station's transmitter and other equipment, and briefly detained the eight journalists who were present at the scene.

Please note this is an abridged translation.
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