Congolese journalist prevented from coming to Canada

Tuesday, September 14, 1999

Congolese journalist prevented from coming to Canada

14 September 1999

Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) strongly protests the confiscation of travel documents and the ban on travel enacted against Modeste Mutinga Mutuishayi, editor-in-chief of the independent newspaper "Le Potentiel", president of the non-governmental organisation Médias pour la Paix (Media for Peace) and chairman of the Campagne pour la paix durable en République démocratique du Congo (Campaign for a Lasting Peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo).

This action follows a history of official harassment against Mutinga, who was imprisoned for fifteen days in March 1999 after being arrested at the N'djili Airport in Kinshasa upon his return from Pretoria, South Africa, where he was attending a peace conference on the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (see IFEX alerts of 26 March, 25 March, 16 March and 15 March 1999). More recently, on 11 August, Mutinga was detained and interrogated by agents of the Agence Nationale de Sécurité (National Security Agency, ANS). He was released that same evening (see IFEX alerts of 12 August and 11 August 1999). For all alerts, go to www.ifex.org.

According to information from "Le Potentiel" and the International League for Human Rights, on 11 September, Mutinga was prevented from leaving the country to participate in a Wilton Park Conference in England on good governance, after which he was scheduled to attend a series of CJFE-sponsored meetings in Canada. Security agents working for the general director of migrations seized Mutinga's passport and travel documents at the N'djili Airport, but then returned them the next day, clearing him for travel. However, Mutinga was again prevented from departing. On 12 September, ANS agents seized his passport on orders from their superiors, stating that the journalist had not been authorised to travel. Mutinga was in possession of all the necessary documentation and permissions to travel to England and Canada.

RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Send appeals to the president:
- noting that the ban on travel enacted against Mutinga appears to be a politically motivated action, constituting a violation of Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states that "Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own" - reminding him that the DRC is a signatory to this international treaty - calling on him to ensure that Mutinga may immediately travel freely and without interference

APPEALS TO:

His Excellency Laurent-Désiré Kabila
President of the Democratic Republic of Congo
Ngaliema, Kinshasa
Democratic Republic of Congo
Fax: +243 88 02120 / +1 202 234 2609

Please copy appeals to CJFE if possible.

The information contained in this alert is the sole responsibility of CJFE. In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit CJFE.

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