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IPU Welcomes Release of DRC Opposition MP Pierre Jacques Chalupa

By Inter-Parlementary Union (IPU)

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 26, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- IPU has welcomed the release of former Congolese opposition MP Pierre Jacques Chalupa but urges the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to resolve the issue of his nationality once and for all.

Chalupa, who had spent all his life in the DRC and had been elected as an MP, had already served more than half of a three-year jail sentence for allegedly falsifying documents to gain nationality and met the conditions for “anticipated release” under Congolese law.

In urgent need of medical assistance for some time, he was one of nearly 400 people released on 22nd November as part of a presidential amnesty that had already seen the release of more than a thousand prisoners since late August 2013.

IPU's Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians has been working to find a resolution to the case since Chalupa's arrest early in February 2012, including sending a mission to the DRC in June this year. An IPU resolution at its October 2013 Assembly in Geneva lamented the lack of progress on Chalupa's case and that of 33 other Congolese MPs.

“It's great news that Mr. Chalupa has finally been released. However, there is the long-standing issue of his nationality to be resolved. As he appears to have fulfilled all conditions for obtaining nationality, we urge the authorities to recognize this and to find a favourable solution,” says Kassoum Tapo, President of IPU's Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians.

“IPU similarly remains concerned by the other cases before the Committee, all of which intrinsically are about issues relating to political and parliamentary freedoms. We urge the DRC to take action to not only resolve them but also to ensure that political freedoms in the country are respected and enforced,” Tapo adds.