Can Vital Kamerhe be granted provisional release?

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Faced with the outbreak of new coronavirus cases in the DRC, the Congolese authorities are concerned about the risk of the virus spreading in prisons. Measures for the release of detainees are envisaged throughout the territory. Locked up in prison for a month awaiting his trial, which is due to start on May 11, Vital Kamerhe, the chief of staff of President Félix Tshisekedi, is on the front line of the beneficiaries.

With our correspondent in Kinshasa,Pascal Mulegwa

The defense of Vital Kamerhe is wildly optimistic about an upcoming provisional release, especially since the case of his client was raised during the meeting of the Council of Ministers last Monday. For the moment, not yet released, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Human Rights are drawing up lists. They are under pressure from human rights organizations.

Activists recall that there are many other pre-trial detainees, even acquitted and granted amnesties in prison for years. If the conditions for parole, interim release or even a presidential pardon have not yet been released, priority should be given to pregnant women, minors and the frail. This is what we explain from the side of the vice-prime minister in charge of Justice.

Impersonal and general conditions?

Jean-Claude Katende of the African Human Rights Association says that non-selective measures are needed: ” The President of the Republic, like her Minister of Justice, must ensure that as many people as possible get out of the prison, without distinction as to file, tribe, province or political affiliation. The conditions we set must be impersonal and general conditions. And anyone who finds themselves in these conditions must regain their freedom.

This activist asks the president to go further and take the opportunity to grant his pardon to the convicts in the very controversial trial of the assassination of ex-president Laurent-Désiré Kabila.

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