08 August 2023 :

A Congolese woman on August 5, 2023 was sentenced to death for the murder of a girl whose mutilated body was found near a river in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Ombeni Malekera, a 30-year-old mother of three, was arrested on August 3 after the body of the five-year-old girl was discovered two days earlier in Bukavu, capital of South Kivu province, on August 1.
Three days earlier, the child had attended a birthday party at Ms Malekera's home with other neighborhood children.
She returned there on August 1 to play with a child of her age, and then disappeared. His body was found about 40 minutes later. Ms. Malekera was suspected "we do not know on what evidence", explained to AFP her lawyer, Me Guy Bauni-Masimango.
Tried from August 5 by the Bukavu High Court, she was "sentenced to death" on the evening after two hearings, he said.
"We are frustrated by this court decision taken in the absence of any proof of our client's guilt. We appealed immediately," added Bauni-Masimango.
The lawyer considered that "there was no serious investigation into this case" and that no one had seen her commit this murder nor had been able to specify "when, where, under what circumstances" he was perpetrated. He also wondered why justice had authorized the burial of the girl's body when "the medical report (autopsy) was not yet available".
Prosecuted for "criminal association" in this case, her husband, Christian Mufariji, was "acquitted, for lack of evidence", explained Mr. Bauni-Masimango.
The civil party is for its part "satisfied" with this judgment "which was able to relieve the family of the child, at the end of a trial of an educational nature for the community", reacted to AFP Me David Bugamba Amani, lawyer for the child's family.


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