Fred Bauma, a symbol of arbitrary detention in the DRC

03.06.2016 ( Last modified: 25.02.2019 )

Fred Bauma is one of the most prominent figures of the LUCHA (standing for Lutte pour le Changement, the Fight for Change), a well-known NGO demanding democratic change in DRC.

In March 2015, Fred was arrested by State agents during a peaceful demonstration in Kinshasa. Accused of inciting violence and rebellion, he was immediately placed in detention.

TRIAL International brought the case before the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which in October 2015 declared his detention illegal and condemned the violations committed against him.

Read the full decision (in French)

Despite the group’s recommendations, the Congolese authorities remained inflexible and arbitrarily detained Fred for over a year.

In August 2016, the young activist was released following a Supreme Court order, but the charges against him are still pending.

A symbol of political persecution

The arbitrary nature of Fred’s arrest, the abuse he has suffered and the secret nature of his detention are serious violations of the most fundamental human rights.

More generally, Fred Bauma became a symbol of the violence committed with total impunity against human rights defenders in DRC. Just like TRIAL International, many international actors sided with him and fought for his release.