July 3, 2017

Urgent Action network

Jean-Marie Kalonji, an activist with the youth movement Quatrieme voie/ il est temps, was arrested by military security forces on Friday 23 June in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). His colleague and lawyer Sylva Mbikayi was arrested a few hours later when he attempted to visit Jean-Marie Kalonji where he was detained.

Jean-Marie Kalonji was stopped by soldiers at an exit check-point of a military camp in Salongo neighbourhood of Lemba municipality at around 1630 hours on Friday 23 June as he left his brother’s house. When he explained that he could not show his passport as it was with an embassy where he had applied for a visa, the soldiers started questioning his nationality and searched his bag which contained flyers for a Lumumba scholarship programme set up by the youth movement Quartrieme Voie/ il est temps (the fourth way/ it is time). Jean-Marie Kalonji is the coordinator of this youth movement which aims to defend the rights of the Congolese youth and has campaigned for peace and democracy in the DRC.

At the time of his arrest, Jean-Marie Kalonji was on the phone with a colleague, who overheard part of the conversation with the soldiers. She alerted Sylva Mbikayi, a lawyer who supports the youth movement Quatrieme voie/ il est temps. When Sylva Mbikayi arrived at the military camp where Jean-Marie Kalonji was detained, he was also arrested.

Jean-Marie Kalonji and Sylva Mbikayi were transferred to the headquarters of the military intelligence at around 2300 hours. According to Jean-Marie Kalonji’s family, the two were ill-treated by the soldiers before being transferred. They have been detained there to date, without access to their family members or lawyers. They have not yet been charged.


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