DR Congo ‘failed coup’ plotters go on trial


The trial of over 50 persons charged in a ‘failed coup‘ attempt incident in the Democratic Republic of Congo started on Friday.

Those charged include six persons with U.S., British, Canadian and Belgian citizenship.

The defendants all appeared in court charged with taking part in a failed coup and other offences.

All 53 who appeared in court also face charges including illegal arms possession, criminal conspiracy, terrorism and attempts to destabilise state institutions and undermine the integrity of the state.

The charges carry the death penalty or lengthy prison sentences. On May 19 armed men briefly occupied an office of the presidency in the capital Kinshasa.

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Their leader, U.S.-based Congolese politician Christian Malanga, was killed by security forces during the incident. He had fled to exile in the US.

Malanga’s 22-year-old son Marcel Malanga is among those on trial. The first day of the military trial took place in the yard of Ndolo military prison, outside Kinshasa.

Many of those who reportedly carried out the failed coup attempt are said to be members of the New Zaire Movement linked to Malanga.

Rights group, Human Rights Watch said the trial needs to be conducted fairly.

“The Democratic Republic of Congo government should ensure that those who took part in an attempted coup are prosecuted in fair trials. The Congolese government needs to treat this crisis as an opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to human rights,” it said in a statement.

The AFP news agency reports that there is also an investigation into the conduct of the soldiers who foiled the attempted coup for allegedly committing executions after the operation.


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