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Startseite Urgent Actions 2021 06 Human rights activists arbitrarily detained
UA 063/21
Republic of Congo
Abgeschlossen am 13. August 2021
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Concerning News

9.7.2021

We have received concerning news about Alexandre Ibacka Dzabana. Alexandre’s health has deteriorated in the last week. He had spinal surgery last year and suffers from back pain. He is now unable to stand still. He can also barely speak and eat, and is not responding to his medicine. Despite this, Alexandre has not been seen by a doctor.

We are deeply concerned about the severe deterioration of Alexandre Ibacka Dzabana’s health and ask you to continue taking immediate action on this UA, calling for the Congolese authorities to immediately and conditionally release him and Christ Dongui. In the meantime, they should urgently allow Alexandre Ibacka Dzabana to be seen by a doctor and send him to an adequate health facility where he could get the necessary care.


Human rights activists arbitrarily detained

AI-Index: AFR 22/4237/2021

Congolese human rights activists, Alexandre Ibacka Dzabana and Christ Dongui, are being arbitrary detained in connection to their human rights work and criticism of the government. In March, they were both arrested in front of their house by unidentified men, forced into vehicles and taken to the Central Intelligence and Documentation Center. They were eventually presented to a prosecutor and charged with breach of State security and sent to Brazzaville central prison where they remain held in pre-trial detention solely for peacefully exercising their human rights. They must be immediately and unconditionally released.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Arrest and detention of those peacefully exercising their human rights, including the rights to freedom of expression, and freedom of peaceful assembly, and crackdown on peaceful dissent are contrary to international human rights standards. Although the CID is empowered to arrest and hold individuals in custody, it is compelled to act in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Code. In article 48, the Code provides that people should be presented to a prosecutor within 72 hours of their arrest, which can be extended by 48 hours with a written decision from the prosecutor. This was not followed for Alexandre Dzabana and Christ Dongui who were held for 29 and 15 days respectively before being presented to the prosecutor. The lack of legal basis to detain them renders their detention at the CID illegal and further arbitrary. The Republic of Congo hence violates its own Constitution which provides in its art. 9 that «[…] Nobody can be arbitrarily accused, arrested or detained». The country also contravenes the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has determined that those detained solely for the peaceful exercise of their human rights must be immediately released. The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has called on all member states, in its resolution 466 on prisons and conditions of detention in Africa, to release different groups of detainees amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, including human rights defenders, «in order to reduce overcrowding in prisons and curb the spread of the Coronavirus».

Alexandre Ibacka Dzabana and Christ Dongui’s detention comes amidst a general crackdown on all who denounced the management and governance that worsened the situation of economic and social rights including those who did not comply with the Covid-19 restriction measures. More information can be found in Amnesty International’s 2021 report, On the back of the crisis. Violations of the right to health and repression of economic and social rights defenders in the Republic of Congo.

Suggested Tweets

[English] Freedom of expression is a human right! Stop silencing People! All voices count in a country based on the rule of law, including Alexandre Ibacka Dzabana and Christ Dongui’s! Stand against authoritarianism! #FreeDzabanaandDongui [Link to UA]

[French] Pas de démocratie sans liberté d’expression ! Cessez de museler les voix des Congolais ! Toutes les voix comptent dans une vraie démocratie ! #LiberezDzabanaetDongui  [Link to UA]

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