Mozambique: Refugees Wallow in Jail Months Without Charge

Maputo — SOME 16 refugees and asylum seekers from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) remain in detention six months after their arrest on unclear charges in Mozambique.

The 15 Congolese and their Ethiopian counterpart have reportedly been denied food and medical attention during detention in the northern Pemba city.

No criminal charges have been laid against them since their arrest in January.

The group was arbitrarily arrested after being handcuffed and allegedly beaten by police and immigration officers in Maratane refugee camp in Mozambique's northeastern Nampula province.

Mozambican authorities attempted to deport seven of the refugees and asylum seekers back to DRC but they were turned back at Kinshasa International Airport after being denied entry by Congolese immigration officials.

Authorities claimed the emergency travel documents issued in their names by Mozambican officials did not prove their Congolese citizenship.

Travelling back to Mozambique, the men were then held for three days in Kenya.

They were transferred back to Pemba where the Provincial Court is yet to rule on a request for the provisional release.

Amnesty International is demanding their unconditional release.

"It is outrageous that these refugees and asylum seekers remain in detention while being deliberately kept in the dark as to why they have been arrested. There is no excuse for this kind of treatment," regional director, Deprose Muchena, said.

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