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DR Congo jails 6 men for life over Italian envoy’s murder

Author: Chany Ninrew | Published: April 8, 2023

Police officers carrying the coffin of slain Italian ambassador to DR Congo Luca Attanasio on February 23, 2021. A military tribunal in Kinshasa on April 7, 2023 sentenced six men to life in prison over the murder. PHOTO | HANDOUT | ITALIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY | AFP

Six men were sentenced to life imprisonment by a military tribunal in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Friday for murdering Italy’s ambassador in 2021.

Ambassador Luca Attanasio was among three people shot dead on February 22, 2021, when a United Nations convoy was ambushed in the DRC’s troubled east.

The other fatalities were driver Mustapha Milambo and Italian police officer Vittorio Iacovacci.

On Friday, lawyers for the six Congolese men said they would appeal the life terms.

Five of the men are being held in prison in Kinshasa, while the other is on the run, according to French news agency AFP.

During previous hearings, the prosecution cast the defendants as criminals who had initially intended to kidnap the ambassador and demand a $1 million ransom.

Public prosecutors had originally sought the death penalty for the six accused calling them members of a “criminal gang”.

The defendants denied any wrongdoing and said their initial confessions were extracted through torture.

Their lawyers also argued that the prosecution had failed to offer evidence in support of the murder charges, and pushed for acquittal.

The military tribunal also awarded damages of $2 million dollars to Italy.

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