One "La Référence Plus" journalist released, other refuses to appear before court
(JED/IFEX) - Franck Ngyke, head of the political column for the daily "La Référence Plus", was released on the evening of Friday 8 September 2000 after five days detention in the cells of the National Information Agency (Agence national des renseignements, ANR) in Kinshasa/Gombe.
His newspaper, which provided this information in its Saturday 9 September edition, did not comment on the motives that led to Ngyke's arrest on 3 September nor on the reasons for this release.
According to information obtained by JED, Ngyke was heard in an advertisement for an organisation named "Congo Telema" (translated to English from the Lingala language as "Congo Stand Up"). This advertisement, which appeared a few days ago in several Kinshasa newspapers, including "La Référence Plus", called for an end to the war that rages in the DR Congo and for the application of the Lusaka accord.
According to the same information, a Kinshasa lawyer, Emery Kalamba Wafuana, identified as the author of this message, was detained and questioned on 5 September.
As for Franck Baku Fuita, the editor-in-chief of "La Référence Plus" who has been under arrest since 1 September, he refused to appear on Friday 8 September before the council chamber of the High Court of Kinshasa/Gombe.
The journalist, who was not assisted by his lawyer Lumeya Dhu Malegi, believes that his case has been tainted by numerous procedural flaws, the main one being the incompetence of the public prosecutor's office and the High Court of Kinshasa/Gombe. Baku lives in Kinshasa/Lemba, the offending article was written in Kinshasa/Kasa-Vubu at the newspaper's offices, and his arrest took place at the newspaper's offices. Therefore, according to article 104 of the Code of Organisation and Judicial Competence (Code d'organisation et de compétence judiciaire), the High Court of Kinshasa/Gombe is not the competent jurisdiction to judge the journalist.
Furthermore, according to his lawyer, Baku Fuita should have been presented before a competent judge within five days of his arrest, in accordance with article 28 of the Criminal Procedure Code. This was not the case.
In view of all these irregularities, on Saturday 9 September the journalist's lawyer introduced a request for a provisional release to the Peace Court (Tribunal de Paix) of Kinshasa/Pont Kasa-Vubu, the competent jurisdiction to hear the Baku case.