Congo appeal court doubles jail term for ex-minister
A Congolese appeal court has more than doubled the jail term of a onetime government minister now in opposition, his lawyer said Thursday.
Jean Claude Muyambo "was sentenced on appeal to five years in prison" for "the illegal sale of a building, illicit possession of documents and a payment of $10,000," his lawyer Beaupaul Mupemba told AFP.
The appeal court in Kinshasa more than doubled the initial jail term of 26 months handed down last February on Muyambo, who is regarded as a political detainee by the opposition.
He had been due for release in March, in light of time already served awaiting trial, the lawyer said, but the state prosecutor appealed against the sentence.
The property concerned was "the same building" that was at issue in the trial of Moise Katumbi, a powerful businessman and ex-governor of the mineral-rich Katanga province in southeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Mupemba added.
Katumbi was in June 2016 convicted in absentia of selling a property that was not his own, nine months after resigning his political duties. He joined the opposition and is now in exile.
Mayumbo is a native of Katanga who prospered as a corporate lawyer and served as a government minister until going into opposition in November 2014. Congolese justice officials consider him guilty of illegally selling several properties belonging to a Greek resident, Emmanuel Stoupis, for his own profit.
Mayumbo was one of the leaders of January 2015 protests in Kinshasa against President Joseph Kabila in which several dozen people were killed when bloodshed erupted.
Mayumbo is on a list of several detainees regarded as "political prisoners" by the opposition. The authorities regard him as a common-law criminal.