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Murder of jesuit missionary: suspects back in court

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MISNA - October 15, 2005 3:17 PM

The suspects in the murder of Father René de Haes, 72, the Jesuit missionary killed May 7 in the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, have once again appeared before the military court of Lemba-Matete in Kinshasa. In a 4-hour hearing, assisted by thousands of people from the poor neighbourhoods of Kinshasa to show solidarity for the Jesuit Fathers, the suspects - Lenge Marcel Fils and Tumba Mwanza Issa - pleaded innocent to all charges. In response to MISNA on the outcome so far of the proceedings against the two military deserters' - facing charges of criminal association, implication in the murder of Fr. De Haes, illegal detention of arms and theft of a vehicle belonging to another Jesuit, Fr. Léon Ngoy - the head lawyer of the religious order, Willy Wenga, said he was not surprised by the strategy adopted by the defence, adding however that he remains confident in the final result of the trial. In his opinion the ruling will have to be exemplary in ending the impunity of the military and police in the capital and rest of the nation. A next hearing is scheduled for next Thursday, while on Monday the judges will return on the scene of the crime for a further reconstruction of events, given that some incoherencies, though minimal, emerged from the testimonies.

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