Africa Congo News

DRC: Former Tshisekedi Adviser Acquitted of “Intelligence With Rwanda”

A former private adviser to President Félix Tshisekedi, Fortunat Biselele, prosecuted for “intelligence with Rwanda”, a neighboring country accused of supporting the M23 rebellion in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, was acquitted on Tuesday, learned the AFP with his lawyer.

Arrested in January in Kinshasa, Mr. Biselele was detained in Makala prison before being granted provisional release on July 22. The former private adviser to the President of the Republic was prosecuted for “treason” and “intelligence with Rwanda”.

“The Kinshasa Gombe tribunal de grande instance acquitted him (…) He is completely cleared,” his lawyer, Me Richard Bondo, told AFP.

The case erupted after an interview released in an online video, in which Mr. Biselele spoke about the economic cooperation relations between President Tshisekedi and his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame.

These relations, which seemed to be normalizing between the DRC and Rwanda at the start of Mr. Tshisekedi’s mandate in 2019, are now abysmal due to the resurgence of the March 23 Movement (M23), a majority Tutsi rebellion defeated in 2013 which took up arms again at the end of 2021.

From the start, Kinshasa has accused Rwanda of arming this rebellion and fighting alongside it, which UN experts have corroborated, although Kigali denies it.

The court’s decision in favor of Mr. Biselele is “a deserved victory because the case was only a settling of scores and the judges are not there to condone these kinds of things,” said Mr. Bondo. The relatives of Mr. Biselele denounced a political trial.

In the DRC, several political or security officials find themselves accused of collusion with the enemy and are detained in a tense pre-election context. The presidential election which will be coupled with those of the national and provincial deputies as well as the municipal councilors is scheduled for December 20.

Four months before the deadline, the American NGO Human Rights Watch on Tuesday denounced the “repression” and “intimidation” against opponents. President Tshisekedi, in power since January 2019, is running for a second five-year term.