The IPU welcomes the release of former MP Franck Diongo and MP Eugène Diomi Ndongala of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The IPU Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians has been lobbying intensely on their behalf since 2012 in the case of Mr. Ndongala and 2016 in the case of Mr. Diongo.
In a video, Mr. Ndongala thanked the IPU and praised its “constant and tireless efforts over the years to defend the human rights of DRC parliamentarians, and in particular, my case”.
Since June 2012, Mr. Ndongala had been targeted by a campaign of political and legal harassment aimed at removing him from the political process. He was arrested in April 2013, and sentenced in March 2014 to 10 years in prison for an alleged rape. The Committee and the United Nations Human Rights Committee concluded that the case was highly political, the trial marred by serious irregularities, and that Mr. Ndongala’s fundamental rights had been violated.
Mr. Diongo, an opposition MP, was arrested in December 2016 by soldiers of the presidential guard. He was reportedly tortured and then summarily tried, despite a fragile medical condition as a result of ill-treatment in detention.
The IPU Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians defends MPs who face abuse, mistreatment or even death. The only international mechanism with such a remit, the Committee is currently examining the cases of over 400 other MPs, of which 36 outstanding cases are from the DRC.