DRC police sentenced to death for murder

Floribert Chebeya, murdered in 2010, has been regularly threatened throughout his 20-year career

A Congolese military court sentenced a top police officer to death for his role in the 2010 murder of human rights activist Floribert Chebeya, sparking national outrage.

Police Commissioner Christian Ngoy Kenga Kenga was found guilty of murder, abandonment and misappropriation of weapons and ammunition.

In Kinshasa, Mr Chebeya’s body was found tied and gagged in his car.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has a moratorium on the death penalty.

However, the death penalty has not been abolished, and military courts continue to issue such sentences.

Another police officer, Jacques Migabo, was also sentenced to 12 years in prison during the trial.

He admitted strangling Mr Chebeya and his driver Fidèle Bazana.

UN-sponsored Radio Okapi said police chief Paul Mwirambwe, a key witness in the trial, was acquitted.

Mr Mwilambwe, who has been a fugitive since the murders and was only deported last year, appointed former President Joseph Kabila and former police chief John Nubi to order the killings.

Neither Mr Kabila nor Gen Numbi has commented publicly, but a military court has charged the general with murdering Mr Chebeya and his driver.

He has fled the country and his whereabouts are unknown.

Kenga, Migabo and Mr Mwilambwe were initially sentenced to death in 2011, while Kenga was arrested in the southern city of Lubumbashi in 2020 before the case was reopened in September last year.

Mr Chebeya, who leads Congolese charity The Silent Voice, is a prominent critic of the government and has received frequent death threats throughout his more than 20-year career.

On the day he was killed, he went to the police headquarters to meet Nubigan, who was then the national police chief.

His driver, Mr. Bazana, was also missing that day, and authorities later pronounced him dead.

The killing of Mr. Chebeya has drawn widespread condemnation from the international community.

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