Arrested on September 8, our correspondent Stanis Bujakera Tshialama has been in pre-trial detention since September 14 at the Kinshasa penitentiary and re-education center – better known as Makala prison.
Built in 1957 to house 1,500 inmates, the prison’s dilapidated buildings cover an area of 13 hectares between the communes of Makala and Selembao in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and today house nearly 10,000 inmates, including most are incarcerated in overcrowded prisons. terms. Stanis is one of them, in Pavilion 8, wearing the blue prison uniform with yellow stripes.
What he is accused of boils down to the fact that he refuses to reveal the sources of an article signed by the editorial staff of Young Africabut which Congolese authorities (who called him ‘fake news‘) suspect him of having written.
Such as ‘crime‘ would only lead to imprisonment in countries where freedom of the press and respect for the work of journalists are only illusions. To drive the point home, and remind us that Félix Tshisekedi’s speech Congo must deserve its “democratic” label, Young Africa launched the ‘Free Stanis‘ campaign in collaboration with the Congolese news site News.cd And Reutersthe other media for which Stanis works.
His (Stanis) detention is a shame for all of Africa.
Around forty videos were produced as part of this campaign and garnered more than a million visits on Young Africa X (formerly Twitter) and Facebook profiles. Additionally, press releases from human rights organizations and supportive tweets from celebrities, including Samantha Poweradministrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and American actress and activist Mia Farrow.
These calls demand the immediate release of Stanis, who “must be free to participate in the urgent task of deepening democracy in the DRC, but also in Africa,” says Cameroonian historian and philosopher Achille Mbembe.
The former French Secretary of State Rama Yade, the Burkinabè activist and rapper Smockey, the Ivorian journalist and writer Serge Bilé, the Congolese mathematician Jonathan Esole are among the other bearers of this demand. Alioune Tine, UN human rights expert, says: “Stanis Bujakera’s only crime is his professionalism. » Novelist Calixthe Beyala described his detention as “a shame for all of Africa”.
Others spoke directly to the Congolese government, such as broadcaster and producer Claudy Siar, saying: “We know, you know and we know that you know, that he has no place in prison.” » Ghanaian investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas called on authorities “to that President Tshisekedi knows that we are alongside our friend“.
The Ivorian essayist Elgas describes Stanis as a “scout” and the Congolese activist Fred Bauma, of the Group of Experts on the Congo, believes that his detention amounts to “depriving the half a million people who follow him of reliable information, at a time when misinformation is rife.”
His academic colleagues Richard Kapend and Poncia Nyembo categorically affirmed that Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala is one of the best sources of “reliable, verifiable and certified” information on the DRC, and that his imprisonment less than three months before the presidential election is worrying.
“I tell him to hold on, prison doesn’t kill,” said Nigerian journalist Moussa Aksar, also detained, while his compatriot, comedian Mamane, sums up what everyone who knows Stanis and his work is like. saying: “Enough is enough, we must release him. »
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