On 17 December 2014, agents of the National Intelligence Agency (ANR) arrested F. at his home, without any arrest warrant. He was immediately locked up in an ANR solitary confinement cell and tortured over a long period of time to make him “confess” to stealing a large sum of money from his former associate, who happened to be very close to the ANR Commander. Despite maintaining that he was innocent, F. was kept in solitary confinement for nearly a month.
He was then transferred to the central prison of Bukavu and placed under preventive detention by the court. Over the course of this period, many of his fundamental rights were violated: his right to have access to a lawyer, to be informed of the grounds for his arrest or to be heard before a competent authority. He was also denied care, water and food, as well as any outside visits. His lawyer’s efforts to have him released were in vain.
In the months that followed, a blatant campaign to intimidate F.’s family ensued: arbitrary detention and arrest, threats, physical assaults, etc. Since then, F. and his family have been living in fear of reprisals.
Besides the actions taken at national level, TRIAL International assisted F. to file a complaint before the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. In September 2015, the latter acknowledged the arbitrary nature of F.’s detention and the acts of torture committed by the ANR agents. TRIAL International also filed a complaint before the Human Rights Committee, demanding that the perpetrators be punished, that the violations committed against the victim be acknowledged and that some kind of reparation be afforded to him. The proceedings are ongoing.
This case is particularly representative of the violations committed by ANR agents in the DRC, who enjoy considerable impunity.