Journalist released after more than two months in jail

JULY 10, 2006
Last Alert: June 23, 2006

Kazadi Kwambi Kasumpata, Lubilanji Expansion


Kasumpata, a journalist working for the small private weekly Lubilanji Expansion in the capital, Kinshasa, was provisionally released on July 5 after spending more than two months in prison on defamation charges. He was freed on orders from the public prosecutor after the local press freedom organization Journaliste en Danger (JED) uncovered evidence of a court order to release Kasumpata issued on May 24, JED reported. The court order had not previously been made public.

Kasumpata, also known as Kazadi Mukendi, was remanded on April 20 after he was charged with defaming the Protestant University of Congo in an article accusing university administrators of embezzlement and poor management.

According to JED, the journalist was secretly sentenced on June 14 to four months in jail and fined the equivalent of US$5,000, although he was not made aware of the verdict until a JED researcher discovered it while researching a separate case.

A JED lawyer filed an appeal on Kasumpata’s behalf on June 24. No date has been set for an appeal hearing.