28 wrongfully detained prisoners in the DRC freed

28 wrongfully detained prisoners in the DRC freed

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, going to prison can be life-threatening. Detainees are subject to severe overcrowding, with prisons reaching levels of over 200 percent capacity. Consequently, detainees are subjected to food shortages, neglected sanitation systems, and widespread violence.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, going to prison can be life-threatening. Detainees are subject to severe overcrowding, with prisons reaching levels of over 200 percent capacity. Consequently, detainees are subjected to food shortages, neglected sanitation systems, and widespread violence.

In the past few months, DRCBJ lawyers traveled to prisons in rural areas, far away from the main courts. During the visits to these rural prisons, our lawyers found 16 people who were illegally detained, including 4 women, 10 men, and 2 children. Most of them did not even know why they had been arrested. While the DRC law prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention, state security forces routinely arrest and detain DRC citizens arbitrarily. Detainees who cannot pay for a lawyer are rarely able to access legal counsel. Moreover, it is estimated that between 70 and 80 percent of the prison population is in pre-trial detention. Our lawyers took on the cases of these 16 people and obtained their release. They are now reunited with their families.

In the past few months, DRCBJ lawyers traveled to prisons in rural areas, far away from the main courts. During the visits to these rural prisons, our lawyers found 16 people who were illegally detained, including 4 women, 10 men, and 2 children. Most of them did not even know why they had been arrested. While the DRC law prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention, state security forces routinely arrest and detain DRC citizens arbitrarily. Detainees who cannot pay for a lawyer are rarely able to access legal counsel. Moreover, it is estimated that between 70 and 80 percent of the prison population is in pre-trial detention. Our lawyers took on the cases of these 16 people and obtained their release. They are now reunited with their families.

Our lawyer's work was not done. During the same period, they traveled to Kalehe Central Prison to inform prisoners on their rights while detained. 58 people, including 6 women (two of whom were pregnant), 44 men, and 8 children, attended the awareness session. While it is protocol for authorities to inform those arrested of their rights and the reason for their arrest, security officials routinely violate these requirements. Our lawyers inform detainees that they have the right to be treated with dignity and respect, and that being imprisoned does not negate their basic human rights. Knowing the essential elements of their legal rights empowers prisoners to better defend themselves throughout their time imprisoned.

Our lawyer's work was not done. During the same period, they traveled to Kalehe Central Prison to inform prisoners on their rights while detained. 58 people, including 6 women (two of whom were pregnant), 44 men, and 8 children, attended the awareness session. While it is protocol for authorities to inform those arrested of their rights and the reason for their arrest, security officials routinely violate these requirements. Our lawyers inform detainees that they have the right to be treated with dignity and respect, and that being imprisoned does not negate their basic human rights. Knowing the essential elements of their legal rights empowers prisoners to better defend themselves throughout their time imprisoned.

After the session, 20 prisoners immediately requested aid from the DRCBJ lawyers for their case. Without delay, our lawyers retrieved their documents from the courts, and requested further review. They were able to prove that 12 of the prisoners were illegally detained, and obtained their release.

After the session, 20 prisoners immediately requested aid from the DRCBJ lawyers for their case. Without delay, our lawyers retrieved their documents from the courts, and requested further review. They were able to prove that 12 of the prisoners were illegally detained, and obtained their release.

These are just a couple of examples of IBJ’s transformative work in the DRC. Thousands of DRC citizens remain trapped in broken prison systems, often suffering harsh conditions, including torture. Our work is pivotal in transforming how prisoners are treated while detained across the globe. Join us as we transform the justice system to be fair for every man, woman and child in the DRC. With your support, IBJ can continue shining light when all seems dark and hopeless. Where there is a defender, there is hope.

These are just a couple of examples of IBJ’s transformative work in the DRC. Thousands of DRC citizens remain trapped in broken prison systems, often suffering harsh conditions, including torture. Our work is pivotal in transforming how prisoners are treated while detained across the globe. Join us as we transform the justice system to be fair for every man, woman and child in the DRC. With your support, IBJ can continue shining light when all seems dark and hopeless. Where there is a defender, there is hope.