Congolese opposition figure Franck Diongo received a rousing welcome as he was freed from the Makala prison on Saturday. It’s his first taste of freedom draped in the flag of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The president of the Lumumba Progressive Movement is one of the beneficiaries of the presidential pardon by Félix Tshisekedi.
Diongo was sentenced in December 2016 to 5 years in prison for the arrest and arbitrary detention of three Republican Guard soldiers. He and his family have always rejected the accusation.
“He is a political prisoner of an individual, he did nothing, he was unjustly arrested. That’s why today we are in the immense joy of coming to pick up the honorable Franck Diongo”, Diongo’s father, Kean Okasao said.
President Tshisekedi promised to release political prisoners, especially those arrested during the December 30 demonstrations over ten days.
His kind gesture has been criticized by human rights groups, which claim to have observed arrests of their activists since election of the new president.