Journalist assaulted by policemen

New York, August 28, 2003—Policemen in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, assaulted Désiré-Israél Kazadi, a reporter working for the daily newspaper Le Phare (The Lighthouse), yesterday during a confrontation with supporters of the opposition Union for Democracy and Social Progress (known by its French acronym UDPS).

According to the journalist and his colleagues at Le Phare, Kazadi was assaulted while covering attempts by a group of UDPS supporters to procure and bury the body of a party activist who died in police custody on August 18.

When the morgue failed to release the body, the crowd became agitated, according to Kazadi. Police officers violently began to disperse the group. Fearing for his life, the journalist hid in a nearby shed. However, three officers found him and ordered him to come out. Though Kazadi identified himself as a journalist and showed the officers his press card, they assaulted him, beating him with nightsticks and causing injuries to his back and shoulders, said the reporter.

According to Kazadi, after the policemen stopped beating him, one of his assailants stopped him as he walked away and told the journalist that someday he would pay the price for his choice of profession.