DRC: TROOPS GET DEATH FOR KILLING REPORTER
April 17, 2010: a military court in the Democratic Republic of Congo handed down death sentences to two soldiers for killing a journalist earlier this month, a press freedom group said.
But Journaliste en Danger (JED) condemned the sentences, charging that the men, a sub-lieutenant and a sergeant, were innocent.
A third soldier, a captain, was sentenced to five years in jail for violating army guidelines. Patient Chebeya Bankome, a 35-year-old freelance cameraman, was shot dead April 5 outside his home in the eastern town of Beni by men in military uniform.
His widow said in a statement that "the physique of the three accused presented to the tribunal did not correspond" to the men she saw the night of the murder.
Bankome was the sixth journalist killed in volatile eastern DR Congo since 2005.
JED said the population in the town was angered by the sentences, which were handed down last Saturday. It said the military tribunal's verdict had been "influenced by local authorities" in Beni, and called for a full inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the killing. (Sources: Agence France Presse, 20/04/2010)