DR Congo: spy agency ANR's ex-chief Kalev Mutond emerges from the shadow, reports say he would apologise to 'his victims' and ask for forgiveness

    Last week, Kalev Mutond, the former director of the National Intelligence Agency (ANR) of the Democratic Republic of Congo , emerged from the shadows. Fearing arrest, he fled the country in March 2021, just days before the judicial authorities issued a wanted notice against him, following complaints filed by several victims accusing him of arbitrary detention, torture and attempted murder.

    The media reported that Kalev Mutond would now apologize to the victims and ask for forgiveness. In response, Congolese activist Carbone Beni, severely beaten and arbitrarily detained by the ANR for several months between 2017 and 2018, tweeted that forgiveness normally stems from " individual awareness  " and should not be “  a ruse or a trick to clear oneself of a sanction ”.

    Commonly known by his first name '  Kalev  ', the former intelligence chief orchestrated the government's brutal crackdown on political dissent when then-President Joseph Kabila sought to run for a third term from December 2016. despite the constitutional two-term limit. Under the command of Kalev Mutond, the intelligence agency arrested dozens of human rights and pro-democracy activists, as well as opposition members, many of whom were detained without charge or access to their families or friends. lawyers.

    The  United States  sanctioned   Mutond in December 2016 for " obstructing democratic processes " and  the European Union in  turn sanctioned him in May 2017 for "  planning , directing or committing " serious human rights violations.

    When President Félix Tshisekedi dismissed him as director of the ANR in March 2019, the victims could then hope that the hitherto untouchable senior official would eventually face justice. However, since his return at the end of August, Kalev Mutond appears to be living in Kinshasa as a free man, raising concerns that a deal has been struck allowing him to escape prosecution.

    “  These people need to know that there are consequences for the actions they  take,” said activist and former ANR detainee Christopher Ngoyi, who filed a complaint in January 2021 for “  that at the future there will not be another Kalev Mutond  ”. Any "  amicable solution would not help the country move forward  ," he told Human Rights Watch.

    If President Tshisekedi is truly determined to fight impunity, he must ensure that “Kalev” is held accountable for the many serious abuses he has overseen. For victims, justice is non-negotiable.

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    Evarist Chahali

    Evarist Chahali

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