(NewsReady.com) – In 2017, criminals in Congo murdered two United Nations Security Council (UNSC) investigators. Nearly five years after the killings, dozens of suspects have been convicted and sentenced for their involvement.
On January 29, a military court in Congo sentenced 51 people to death for the murders of Swedish politician Zaida Catalán and American Michael Sharp. Of the 51 who were sentenced to death, 22 remain fugitives, and prosecutors had to try them in absentia.
Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, released a statement opposing the death sentences in the case.
UN reacts to the verdict/ death sentences issued by a military court in DR Congo in connection with the murders of UN Experts Zaida Catalán and Michael Sharp in 2017: https://t.co/fuz8GweytR
— Melissa Kent (@KentUNCBC) February 1, 2022
Catalán and Sharp were in the Kasai-Central province on March 12, 2017, to investigate human rights abuses. A group of armed men stopped them while they were traveling along the road, forced them into a field, and murdered them. Sixteen days after the executions, the victims’ bodies were found in a shallow grave – the men had beheaded Catalán. Three motorbike drivers and their Congolese interpreter were also with them that day, and are still missing.
US Ambassador to the D.R. Congo Michael Hammer released a statement praising the investigation into the murders. He also extended condolences to the Sharp and Catalán families, as well as the families who have lost loved ones to the brutal violence they were investigating.
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