New York, February 15, 2013--Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo should release pending appeal a journalist who was sentenced to six months in prison in December on defamation charges, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The journalist was taken into custody on Tuesday.
Police arrested Joachim Diana Gikupa, editor of the private daily La Colombe in Kinshasa, and held him at a local court before transferring him to Malaka central prison, according to local news reports. Gikupa's lawyers filed an appeal, saying the journalist was in poor health and should be released on bail, according to the U.N.-backed broadcaster Radio Okapi. Gikupa was also ordered to pay US$20,000 in damages, local press freedom groups reported.