Skip to main content
Friday, July 28, 2017

Congo opposition leader gets two years in prison for inciting protests

Anti-government protesters set up barricades on a road in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, April 4, 2016. /REUTERS
Anti-government protesters set up barricades on a road in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, April 4, 2016. /REUTERS

Congo Republic opposition leader Paulin Makaya was sentenced to two years in prison on Monday for his role in protests against a referendum proposing a third term for President Denis Sassou Nguesso.

Makaya was charged on four counts including "incitement to disturb public order" during a demonstration on October 20 when thousands of people took to the streets to protest the contitutional referendum.

Nguesso has ruled Congo for all but five years since 1979, and was re-elected in March after the referendum passed.

Makaya has denied the charges and his lawyer Eric Ibouanga said he plans to lodge an appeal to the ruling by the High Court of Brazzaville.

"The judgment brought by the correctional chamber is unjust and illegal," Ibouanga said.

Four people were killed at the march in October, when security forces opened fire after a crowd refused to disperse.

Residents said the violence in Brazzaville was the worst since Nguesso retook power in 1997 at the end of a brief civil war.

Makaya, 49, has already been detained for 8 months following his arrest. In addition to his sentence, he was charged a 2.5 million CFA franc ($4,183) fine.

Amnesty International had previously condemned his arrest on the grounds of freedom of expression and said that his pre-trial detention surpassed the four-month limit of Congolese law.


Thank you for participating in discussions on The Star, Kenya. Note that:
  • Unwarranted personal abuse and defamatory statements will be deleted.
  • Strong personal criticism is acceptable if justified by facts and arguments.
  • Deviation from points of discussion may lead to deletion of comments.
Poll of the day