US and British citizens among suspects on trial in Congo after foiled coup

By Ange Kasongo Free Download Mp3

KINSHASA (Reuters) – More than 50 defendants, including six of American, British, Canadian and Belgian nationality, appeared in a court in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Friday, accused of participating in a failed coup and other offenses punishable by death.

Armed men briefly occupied a presidential office in the capital Kinshasa on May 19 before their leader, US-based Congolese politician Christian Malanga, was killed by security forces.

Among the defendants are Marcel Malanga, Malanga’s 22-year-old son, two other U.S. citizens and three other foreign passport holders. All have Congolese roots.

The first day of the military trial took place in a tent in the courtyard of the Ndolo military prison, on the outskirts of Kinshasa. The defendants arrived wearing blue and yellow prison-issued tops and lined up before the judge.

All 53 face charges of illegal possession of weapons, criminal conspiracy, terrorism and attempting to destabilize state institutions and undermine the integrity of the state, some of whom face death. death penalty or long prison terms.

The defendants were identified in court and the charges were read out, but they were not asked to plead guilty.

Congo lifted a moratorium on the death penalty in March, citing treason and espionage in recurring armed conflicts as the reason.

Richard Bondo, the lawyer for one of the American detainees, Benjamin Zalman-Polun, told Reuters it was too early to talk about possible extradition and that the presumption of innocence applied.

The other defendants or their lawyers could not be reached for comment.

(Writing by Alessandra Prentice, editing by Bate Felix and Andrew Heavens)

Read Complete News ➤

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

six + 15 =