Congo jails opposition leader over demo

Brazzaville - A court in the Republic of Congo has jailed an opposition leader for two years for inciting public disorder, a charge arising from an unauthorised demonstration he organised in 2015.

Paulin Makaya, who heads the small United For Congo party, said he would appeal his conviction, which also carries a fine of 2.5 million CFA francs €3 800.

Makaya's lawyers called the verdict "unjust and illegal."

The October 2015 protests were called to protest a referendum that ended a two-term limit on presidential mandates and allowed President Denis Sassou Nguesso to successfully run for re-election in March this year.

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.

At the time, the opposition described the referendum as a "constitutional coup"

One UPC member, Destin Sikoula, said Makaya, who returned to Congo in late 2014 after 17 years in exile, had been convicted "just to make the government happy."

In June, prosecutors had urged the court to jail Makaya for five years should he be found guilty.

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