Kinshasa to let Dutch experts autopsy rights activist

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The Democratic Republic of Congo's interior ministry has agreed that Dutch forensics experts can take part in the autopsy of murdered rights activist Floribert Chebeya, a ministry source said Tuesday.

In a letter dated Monday addressed to the ambassador of the Netherlands, of which AFP has obtained a copy, Interior Minister Adolphe Lumanu gave "(his) accord" to a request from the Netherlands to send four specialists to Kinshasa.

Chebeya, 47, the president of the rights association La Voix des Sans-Voix (VSV - Voice of the Voiceless) was found dead on the morning of June 2, tied up on the back seat of his car.

He had disappeared the previous night with his driver, who has still not been found, after spending the early evening at the police headquarters, where he was due to meet the then police chief, John Numbi. But that meeting never took place.

Numbi was suspended on Sunday and several police officers were arrested in an inquiry into Chebeya's murder, which has caused an outcry among human rights organisations in the DR Congo and abroad.

The Kinshasa authorities are under considerable pressure from the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and France to carry out an independent, open and impartial inquiry into Chebeya's death.

According to a source at the interior ministry, the United States has asked permission to send agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to form part of the inquiry team.

This request is to be examined by Kinshasa authorities, the source said.

© 2010 AFP

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