- A military tribunal in the Congolese capital Kinshasha condemned the two main defendants - Joël Munganda and Papy Munongo - after they were found guilty of assassinating a Congolese journalist, Franck Ngyke and his wife, Hélène Mpaka. A third defendant,Didier Awatimbine, was sent to prison for life.
Franck Ngyke was a political editor of the daily ‘La Reference Plus’ in Kinshasa. He was assassinated alongside his wife on 3 November 2005 at their home in Mombele.
The defence lawyers said they are unhappy for the trial to end without anybody knowing the motives behind the crime, which leaves a number of dark areas open.
The military tribunal judgment, delivered on 13 April, found all the three guilty of murder, attempted murder, extortion, and violation of prison regulations.
Similarly, the court condemned Serge Kabungu Obez in absentia to five years in prison for purchasing a telephone belonging to the assassinated journalist.
The court however acquitted and discharged Paul Kusungila, an uncle to the main defendant, Joël Munganda. Mr Kusungila was tried for being associated with the accused.
The convicted persons have only five days to challenge the judgment.
The Kinshasa based media watchdog, Journaliste en danger (JED), dispatched a statement, expressing disappointment about the “incomplete trial” of the case. According to JED, the trial should have been allowed to complete so that the public knows the whole truth surrounding the double.
“JED regrets that the court privileged the evidence of a crime against property, despite numerous witnesses indicating that the murder of Ngyke was a contract killing.”
The defence lawyers pinned down investigating security officers for being too slack in their investigation into the murders. They also grind axe with the court for refusing to allow their numerous requests to allow their witnesses to testify in the public hearing.
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