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Rights group files criminal complaint over murder of DRC rights advocates

[JURIST] The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) [advocacy website] filed a criminal complaint in Senegal Wednesday against former Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] police officer Paul Mwilambwe for his alleged involvement in the slaying of DRC human rights activists Floribert Chebeya [BBC report; JURIST news archive] and Fidele Bazana. Mwilambwe fled from DRC to Senegal in order to avoid prosecution and later gave an interview describing the double murder [Jeune Afrique report, in French] and implicating former police chief John Numbi. FIDH, acting in conjunction with the families of Chebeya and Bazana, has stated that it chose to bring the case against Mwilambwe in Senegal [Reuters report] after repeated attempts to bring the case in DRC had failed.

Chebeya was found dead in his own car in June 2010 outside of Kinshasa. In June 2011 a military court sentenced [JURIST report] four policemen to death for killing Chebeya. A total of eight men, all DRC policemen, were accused of being involved in the murder and were subsequently arrested. The trial of five of the eight men started in November 2010 [JURIST report] while three remain at large. They faced charges of abduction, assassination, terrorism and conspiracy. One of the eight was sentenced to life in prison, three were acquitted and the three remaining at large were sentenced to death. The former Chief of Police Intelligence Colonel Daniel Mukalay was also sentenced to death for planning the assassination. Within less than a week after the killing of the human rights defender, national police chief John Numbi was suspended [JURIST report] following the investigation into the murder. The investigation was initiated after senior UN officials urged [JURIST report] the country to do so.

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