RSF protests against editor's arrest

Abidjan- Cote d'Ivoire (PANA) -- The international media watchdog, Reporters without Borders (RSF) is protesting against the arrest of Freddy Loseke Lisumbu, journalist in the DR Congo, editor of the daily La Libre Afrique in DR Congo.
RSF, whose African office is in Abidjan, Wednesday said it has written a letter to Congolese information minister Kikaya Bin Karubi, asking him to do all he can to ensure the editor's speedy and unconditional release.
"Even though Freddy Loseke is renowned for disrespecting the most basic rules of professional ethics, nothing can justify his detention.
He called neither for violence nor for ethnic hatred", RSF general secretary Robert Menard noted.
In the letter, RSF cited that in January 2000 the UN's special rapporteur for the promotion of the freedom of speech and opinion said, "for offences such as 'libellous writing' and 'insult', prison sentences are both reprehensible and disproportionate with the damage done to the victim".
According to reports reaching RSF, Loseke was arrested on 30 May and detained at the Kinshasa/Kalamu court before he was transferred the following day to the Kinshasa jail.
The editor is being detained for "libel" against priest Sony Kafuta, who, La Libre Afrique reported on 15 May that he did not pay his debts of 400 dollars to a Kinshasa mechanic.
According to the paper, Sony Kafuta said: "You can accuse me wherever you want, I am the ruler's brother.
Nothing will be done to me".
He was also reported by the paper as "ordering an attack against a lender who dared claim the 1,000 dollars he had entrusted to the head of the profit-making association called Armada Mammonique".
RSF recalled that Lisumbu spent last year in jail after being sentenced for "insulting the army".
His paper had announced, without any evidence, an impending military coup by Katangan soldiers opposed to the late President Laurent Kabila.

13 june 2001 16:08:00

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