Patient Chebeya

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Armed men in military uniforms surrounded Chebeya, 35, in
front of his house around 10 p.m. in the volatile eastern city of Beni, according to the local
press freedom group Journaliste En Danger (JED). Chebeya surrendered his cell
phones, videotapes, and money and pleaded for his life, but the gunmen fired several
point-blank shots, his wife, a witness, told JED.

Chebeya, a father of four, was returning from a recording
studio where he had been editing video footage when he was gunned down,
according to local journalists. Authorities immediately arrested two military
officers in connection with the killing, and a third on a related weapons
charge. A military tribunal tried, convicted, and sentenced the officers within
12 days. The proceedings, which resulted in death sentences for two suspects
and a five-year prison term for the third, did not shed light on a motive for
the crime or on the circumstances, according to local journalists.

Local human rights defenders said they were concerned by the
haste with which the proceedings were conducted. Chebeya’s widow said the
suspects did not match the appearance of the killers, an assertion that
prompted JED to call for a retrial. Authorities had been criticized
before–notably in the 2007 slaying of journalist Serge Maheshe–for rushing
journalist murder cases to trial and trumping up charges against innocent