The former leader of the presidential party Jean-Marc Kabund, prosecuted in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for “insulting the head of state” , was sentenced Wednesday to seven years in prison, his defense announced.
This sentence is higher than the three years in prison which had been requested by the public prosecutor.
The Court of Cassation ruled that “all the offenses for which Mr. Kabund was prosecuted were established ,” Mr. Kaddy Ditou told the press. She imposed “an accumulation of sentences” and sentenced him to “84 months of main penal servitude, equivalent to 7 years” in prison, added the lawyer.
Among these offenses are “insulting the Head of State” , “insulting the Head of State and the institutions of the Republic” , “propagation of false rumors” , she explained at the exit of the hearing, which was not open to the public.
“It’s a very severe sentence ,” said the lawyer. Pronounced by the Court of Cassation in first and last instance, this decision is not subject to appeal.
Former head of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), the party of Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi, Jean-Marc Kabund is a deputy and former vice-president of the National Assembly. He was arrested on August 9, 2022, and has since been detained in Makala, the main prison in Kinshasa.
By announcing in July 2022 the creation of his own party, “Alliance for Change”, Mr. Kabund castigated “the absence of a clear vision”, “the notorious incompetence and institutionalized mismanagement characterized by carelessness, irresponsibility, enjoyment, and predation at the top of the State”. Comments that he repeated during his trial.
Present near the Court of Cassation, relatives and members of Mr. Kabund’s party considered that it was a “political” trial, while the general elections are scheduled for December 20. President Tshisekedi, in power since January 2019, is a candidate for a second five-year term.
This conviction comes in a tense pre-electoral context. Arrests of opposition figures and journalists have increased in recent months.
Another opponent, Salomon Kalonda (under arrest since May 30), a close advisor to presidential candidate Moïse Katumbi, was transferred Tuesday evening from the Ndolo military prison to a health facility, according to his lawyer.
Accused of “spreading false rumors”, journalist Stanis Bujakera, correspondent in particular for Jeune Afrique, has been detained since Friday in Kinshasa.