Journalist freed from jail

New York, March 29, 2004—Jean-Denis Lompoto, editor of the satirical biweekly Pili-Pili, was released March 27 from a Kinshasa prison on bail of US$100.

Lompoto, who had been held just over a week, was detained on March 19 on charges of defaming Mining Minister Eugène Diomi Ndongala, according to local press organization Journaliste en danger (JED). The charges stem from articles in Pili-Pili accusing the minister of corruption.

“We welcome Lompoto’s release,” said CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper, ” but he should not have been jailed in the first place. Criminal prosecution of journalists continues to be a serious problem in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We urge the government to work toward removing criminal penalties for press offences.”

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