, KINSHASA, May 6 – The government in the Democratic Republic of Congo is abusing the justice system to silence its opponents, a local rights groups said.
The African Association for the Defence of Human Rights (ASADHO) singled out the imprisonment last month of Norbert Luyeye, the president of the Union of Republicans, a small opposition party not represented in parliament.
Luyeye was picked up early in March for having organised a peaceful march against the presence of Ugandan and Rwandan troops on Congolese soil and held by the country’s intelligence service before being charged, said the group.
The foreign troops have been helping government forces in the east of the country hunt down rebels from the Lord’s Resistance Army, and Rwandan Hutu rebels of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).
The group also denounced the recent jail sentence against Gabriel Mokia, president of the Movement of Congolese Democrats (MDC) for incitement of tribal hatred, spreading false rumours and offences against the head of state.
The ASADHO said Mokia, whose MDC is another minor opposition party not represented in parliament, had been held in prison in Kinshasa for nine months for comments he made in a television programme.