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DRC: Death threat against human rights defender Mr Théodore Mufano
On 8 August 2012, human rights defender Mr Théodore Mufano received a death threat from a local police officer in connection with a complaint he had lodged in April 2012.
The complaint related to the alleged involvement of the police in the escape of a person suspected of raping a minor.
Théodore Mufano is a key member of Action por le Développement Endogène et la Promotion Sociale – ADEPROSO (Action for Endogenous Development and Social Advancement), an organisation based in the Uvira and Fizi regions which is dedicated to human rights, conflict resolution and community development.
Théodore Mufano is also secretary of the Commission Territoriale de Lutte contre les Violences Sexuelles d'Uvira (Territorial Commission for the Fight against Sexual Violence in Uvira), a body composed of both civil society and state actors engaged in the fight against the scourge of sexual violence in the east of the DRC.
On the morning of 8 August, Théodore Mufano was accompanying a rape victim in the Police Office for Child Protection in Uvira when he met Captain Karumba, a police officer who the human rights defender had accused in April 2012 of facilitating the escape of an alleged rapist.
When Théodore Mufano greeted the captain, she reproached him for having written a letter to her superiors denouncing the alleged escape in April. The human rights defender insisted that he was only doing his job, but the police captain threatened to kill him, saying she would “bury him in a hole over 100 metres deep”. Three police officers, including the driver of the police chief, were present. Théodore Mufano takes this threat seriously and intends to file a formal complaint with the Military Prosecutor in Uvira.
The letter referred to by Captain Karumba was written by Théodore Mufano on 13 April 2012, denouncing the complicity of the police official in the escape of an alleged rapist. At the time in question, Captain Karumba was chief of the Police Office for Child Protection in Uvira, and she herself had reportedly begun questioning the suspect less than two hours before his escape. Following these events, the police official was detained for 15 days and subsequently transferred to a different Police Office for Child Protection in Baraka.
Front Line Defenders is concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of Théodore Mufano, and believes that the death threat he received was solely motivated by his legitimate work in the defence of human rights, particularly his efforts to combat sexual violence in the DRC.