Human Lives Human Rights: A military court in Beni, DR Congo convicted thirteen activists from the citizen movement Lutte pour le Changement (LUCHA).
The activists – who have already been held arbitrarily for five months – were sentenced to a further 12 months in prison for their participation in a peaceful demonstration in November last year.
The activists demonstrated to denounce the authorities’ failure to protect civilians against deadly attacks by armed groups, despite the ongoing state of siege.
Three of them fell seriously ill due to the trauma of their brutal arrest and poor prison conditions. They have not received appropriate medical attention. The 13 activists were accused of “provocation to disobey the laws”.
The Rights groups call on the unconditional release of these activists and urge the Congolese authorities to address the legitimate demands for effective protection of civilians in the conflict, instead of preventing them from speaking out.