August 29, 2017
The Law Society of Upper Canadaexpresses grave concern about the arrest and detention of lawyer Sylva Mbikayi in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Law Society received reports that on July 13, 2017, Sylva Mbikayi, a lawyer in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was arrested in the capital city of Kinshasa and detained at the Military Intelligence Headquarters (DEMIAP) in Bumba.
Sylva Mbikayi was arrested without a warrant and without being informed of the reasons for his arrest when he went to DEMIAP to consult his client and friend, activist and lawyer-in-training Jean-Marie Kalonji, who was being detained there.
Jean-Marie Kalonji was arrested a few hours earlier at an exit check-point of a military camp. He had his bag searched by soldiers after he explained “he could not show his passport because it was with an embassy where he had applied for a visa.”1 The soldiers who stopped him questioned his nationality and found in his bag “flyers for a Lumumba scholarship programme set up by the youth movement Quatrième Voie/ il est temps (the fourth way/ it is time).”2Jean-Marie Kalonji was then arrested.
Sylva Mbikayi was immediately notified of Jean-Marie Kalonji’s arrest, and when he went to visit Jean-Marie Kalonji at DEMIAP, Sylva Mbikayi was arrested as well.
Both men have been detained at DEMIAP since their arrest, without being allowed contact with their family members or access to lawyer.