Journalist released from prison

New York, September 4, 2003—Guy Kasongo Kilembwe, a journalist who was arrested on August 29, was released today from the Penitentiary and Reeducation Center in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Kilembwe, editor-in-chief of the satirical newspaper Pot-Pourri, told CPJ that his release was granted after he paid US$100 and promised to appear before the public prosecutor twice a week. There are no formal charges against Kilembwe, according to the journalist and the local press-freedom organization Journaliste en Danger (JED).

After arresting him, officers took Kilembwe to a police station, where Pius Mwabilu, a member of Parliament who is also the general manager of L’Avenir Group Radio-Television and publisher of the pro-government daily L’Avenir (The Future), confronted him. According to Kilembwe, Mwabilu said, “You humiliated me in your newspaper, and now I am going to make you suffer.” On August 22, Pot-Pourri published a front-page article alleging that Mwabilu had used funds earmarked for collective use by parliamentarians to launch his media company, L’Avenir Group.

Kilembwe told CPJ that he is afraid of further arrest and legal action against his newspaper that could cripple the publication financially.