Marie-Thérèse Nlandu Mpolo-Nene, Lawyer and Political Leader

Re: Marie-Thérèse Nlandu Mpolo-Nene, Lawyer and Political Leader

To: S.E. Joseph Kabila, Président de la République

From: Darlene D.R. Kavka

Date: 2007-11-29

I am a barrister practicing law in the Province of British Columbia, in the country of Canada, and a proud member of Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada.

It has come to my attention that on November 21, 2006 one of my sister lawyers from République Démocratique du Congo (DRC), Marie-Thérèse Nlandu Mpolo-Nene, was arrested on charges of alleged insurrectionary movement and the illegal possession of firearms. According to the information available to me, Marie-Thérèse Nlandu Mpolo-Nene was arrested at the Kin-Maziere police station while visiting and providing food to six (now fellow) prisoners. The men Marie-Thérèse Nlandu Mpolo-Nene was visiting are: Bienvenu Makumbu, Richard Kianza, Pasteur José Inonga, Gauthier Lusadisu, Bona and Gayo.

Amnesty International considers Marie-Thérèse Nlandu Mpolo-Nene to have been targeted for detainment and prosecution in direct response to her political beliefs, peaceful activities and thought-provoking influence on others; as opposed to the commission of authentic criminal conduct. She is therefore considered by to be a prisoner of conscience or political prisoner. Amnesty International considers the detainment of Marie-Thérèse Nlandu Mpolo-Nene and the six men named above to all be politically motivated.

I wish to call upon you to do what you can to ensure that Marie-Thérèse Nlandu Mpolo-Nene be released unconditionally and without harm. As for Bienvenu Makumbu, Richard Kianza, Pasteur José Inonga, Gauthier Lusadisu, Bona and Gayo, I also implore you to ensure that they are provided with immediate access to medical care and legal representation. I further ask that unless these individuals are charged with a criminal offence which is supported by adequate admissible evidence, and tried before a civilian court, excluding the possibility of the death penalty, that they, too, be released.

Despite a long political history in the Congo of differences of opinion or ideology culminating in violence, I ask that you use your role and influence as a leader to rise above the temptation to unjustly smother your opposition. As a surviving son of an assassinated President and yourself being the President unofficially renowned as the initiator of the People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy, the world looks to you to be an example of leadership built on the utmost integrity.

Yours is the first presidency to emerge from Universal Direct Suffrage. The sacrifices and achievements made by your family have resulted in momentous accomplishments for your entire nation. People such as Marie-Thérèse Nlandu Mpolo-Nene are also vitally important because they enrich your nation with intelligence and compassion and contribute to the development of a fruitful, dynamic citizenry. Please do not permit Marie-Thérèse Nlandu Mpolo-Nene to come to any harm.