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DR Congo sentences army officer to death over protesters’ killings


DR Congo sentences army officer to death

A military court in the Democratic Republic of Congo has delivered a verdict, sentencing an army officer to death and imposing 10-year prison terms on three other individuals for their involvement in the August killing of over 50 protesters in the city of Goma.

Two additional individuals who were on trial in connection with the incident have been acquitted.

The defense attorneys for the convicted individuals have expressed their intention to appeal the court’s decision.

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It’s worth noting that while the death penalty is a common sentence in DR Congo, it hasn’t been carried out for two decades, with sentences typically being commuted to life imprisonment.

During the closing arguments on Friday, a senior public prosecutor had not requested the death penalty for the main defendant, Colonel Mike Mikombe. Instead, they had called for a life imprisonment sentence.

However, the court ultimately sentenced Colonel Mikombe to death, charging him with “murders,” although charges related to crimes against humanity were dropped.

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The prosecutor had also sought sentences ranging from 10 to 20 years for the five other defendants who were on trial.

These six soldiers had been facing charges since September 5 related to a deadly crackdown against a religious sect that had called for protests against the presence of the United Nations in the region.

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The crackdown resulted in the tragic deaths of 57 people, according to the latest official count, and has led to heightened tensions in Goma, located in the North Kivu province, an area that has long been afflicted by violence instigated by various armed groups.

Furthermore, the August 30 military operation led to the arrest of more than 140 civilians, including approximately 30 minors.