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Court convicts suspect to death in murder of Soleil Balanga

Herno D./Flickr/http://bit.ly/1nLuBxl

This statement was originally published by JED on 23 February 2016.

Journaliste en danger (JED) notes the capital punishment ruling of the High Court of Boende for the murder of journalist Soleil Balanga, killed on April 16, 2015 in Monkoto, situated more than 100 km from Boende, the capital of the province of Tshuapa (northwestern RDC).

According to information shared with JED and confirmed by one of the lawyers for the slain journalist's family, the High Court of Boende delivered its verdict regarding the murder of the journalist Soleil Balanga on Monday, February 22, 2016. Moussa Tendele, the son of the chief medical officer of the Monkoto health district, was sentenced to death for slitting Soleil Balanga's throat with a knife. A doctor and a nurse from the Monkoto health district, who were being prosecuted for criminal involvement, were acquitted.

We...hope that the ruling will dissuade others in this country who think that one can threaten, attack or kill journalists without penalty. But as an organization for the defence of human rights, we are naturally against the execution of the death sentence.

Contacted by JED, Mr. Papay Botshona, one of the lawyers for the family of Soleil Balanga declared “We are not completely satisfied with the verdict. The two others who were being prosecuted for criminal activity should also be found guilty. This morning (Tuesday, February 2016), I went to appeal the verdict.”

“We acknowledge this ultimate sanction and hope that the ruling will dissuade others in this country who think that one can threaten, attack or kill journalists without penalty. But as an organization for the defense of human rights, we are naturally against the execution of the death sentence,” said Tshivis Tshivuadi, JED General Secretary.

Soleil Balanga, journalist with Monkoto Radio Communautaire, was violently attacked with a knife on Thursday, April 16, 2015, by the son of the chief medical officer of the Monkoto health zone, who slit his throat after sharing information that his father was leaving his management position at the hospital.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
What other IFEX members are saying
  • Court convicts suspect in murder of DRC journalist Soleil Balanga

    "This conviction for the murder of Soleil Balanga sends an important message that journalists cannot be killed with impunity," said Kerry Paterson, CPJ's Africa research associate. "Holding perpetrators accountable for attacks on journalists is the only way to break the cycle of violence--although CPJ, as a member of the international human rights community, does not advocate for or condone the use of the death penalty."



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