48th Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights,
10-24 November 2010, Banjul, The Gambia
Death in Detention in the Republic of Congo
Joint Statement of IHRDA, OCDH ADHUC on Violation of the Right to Life, Physical Integrity and Security of a Person
The Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA), l’Observatoire congolais pour les droits de l’homme (OCDH) and l’Association pour les droits de l’homme et l’univers carcéral (ADHUC), would like to express their deep concern with regards to the recurrent phenomenon of deaths in custody in the Republic of Congo.
On 9 September 2010, Mr. Ferdinand Mbourangon, Lieutenant of the Congolese Armed Forces (FAC), died in the Brazzaville Detention and Correction Centre. He died from beatings and injuries inflicted on him wardens of the Brazzaville Detention and Correction Centre. He was incarcerated for his alleged involvement in the embezzlement of salaries of civil servants.
Mr. Ferdinand Mbourangon was beaten to death for simply expressing his disapproval of the prevailing inhuman treatment within the penitentiary service. He did not receive adequate medical attention after being severely beaten whereas his health situation was obviously critical.
The tragic death of Ferdinand Mbourangon confirms the persistence of deaths in custody in the Republic of Congo. Similarly, his death attests to the state of extreme vulnerability of detainees as well as the many blunders of penitentiary officers in this country. Like many other cases identified by the aforementioned organizations in this statement, the case of Mr. Fernand Mbourangon has not been subject to any judicial inquiry till date. IHRDA, OCDH and ADHUC are seriously disturbed by yet another death in custody in the Republic of Congo. The former would also like to reiterate that the impunity of perpetrators of torture or inhuman treatment against deaths in custody remains one of the main causes for recurrence of the phenomenon.
On the basis of the foregoing, IHRDA, OCDH and ADHUC urge the government of the Republic of Congo to:
- Launch an immediate inquiry into the circumstances of Mr. Ferdinand Mbourangon’s death in custody and prosecute persons suspected of assault against him;
- Adopt measures to provide effective compensation to the families of victims of death in custody who have filed a case before Congolese courts.
Similarly, they urged the African Commission to:
- Mandate the Special Rapporteur on Prisons and Detention Conditions in Africa to undertake a mission to the Republic of Congo to discuss the issue of deaths in custody recurring in this country;
- Call on the government of the Republic of Congo to ensure effective implementation of the Robben Island Guidelines.
 The wardens had acted on the orders of the Superintendent of the Brazzaville Detention and Correction Centre. For more details, read ‘Association pour les droits de l’homme et l’univers carcéral & l’Observatoire congolais pour les droits de l’homme, Note d’information, Meurtre à la Maison d’arrêt de Brazzaville : Silence, les gendarmes torturent et tuent, Brazzaville, Septembre 2010’.
 47th Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, 12-27 May, Banjul, The Gambia, Death in custody in the Republic of Congo, Joint IHRDA and OCDH Statement on Violation of the Right to Life, Physical Integrity and Security of a Person.