Prominent DR Congo journalist Stanis Bujakera freed from jail after six months

A prominent DR Congo journalist was released from prison late Tuesday after spending six months behind bars, a colleague announced.

Stanis Bujakera, 33, was sentenced Monday to six months in prison for allegedly incriminating in an article the country's military intelligence in the murder of an opposition politician, Cherubin Okende.

He was detained in September and held in pre-trial custody.

The unsigned story was published in the Jeune Afrique magazine and based on an alleged confidential memo from a separate intelligence agency. Congolese authorities have said the memo is a fake.

Although Bujakera's lawyer earlier on Tuesday said that he would remain in jail pending an appeal of his sentence by the public prosecutor's office, Patient Ligodi, head of the online newspaper, told AFP that the journalist was free.

"The public ministry has withdrawn its appeal. He (Bujakera) is free, he is in the car, I'm taking him home," said Ligodi.

A Kinshasa court found Bujakera guilty of charges including forgery and "spreading false rumours", and ordered the six-month sentence along with a fine of one million Congolese francs ($400).

Prosecutors had asked that Bujakera be jailed for 20 years.

As Bujakera had already spent six months in detention, he was due to be released on Tuesday after his employer paid the fine and all court costs.

But "the order for Stanis to be freed came down around 1800 (1700 GMT), accompanied by an appeal by the public ministry," Ligodi said earlier on Tuesday.

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