Congolese court upholds opposition leader's prison sentence

2017-03-21 21:33
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Brazzaville - An appeals court in Congo-Brazzaville on Tuesday upheld the conviction and two-year jail sentence for inciting public disorder handed down last year to opposition leader Paulin Makaya.

The charge, stemming from an unauthorised demonstration Makaya organised in 2015, also carried a fine of $4 100.

"The judgement rendered the first time is affirmed," said Christine Tsika Mayanda, president of the country's first correctional division of the court of appeals.

Makaya's lawyer Yvon Eric Ibouanga criticised Tuesday's ruling as "disappointing and illegal," reiterating the defence's view that the prosecution had failed to prove "all of the elements" of Makaya's alleged offence.

The United For Congo party leader, who returned to the country in late 2014 after 17 years in exile, could file another appeal to the supreme court.

In October 2015, protests were called after a constitutional referendum ended the two-term limit on presidential mandates that allowed President Denis Sassou Nguesso to successfully run for re-election in March 2016.

The unrest went on for weeks and in the days immediately before the referendum at least four people were killed in clashes between protesters and security forces.

The 73-year-old Sassou Nguesso, a former paratrooper, served as president from 1979 to 1992, returning to power in 1997 following a civil war.

He won two successive terms in elections in 2002 and 2009, both of which were disputed by opposition parties.

Read more on:    congo brazzaville  |  central africa

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