He is sentenced to death for repression of protests where 57 died

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A Democratic Republic of Congo army officer was sentenced to death on Monday by a military court, which sentenced three other soldiers to 10 years in prison for the killing of more than 50 protesters in August.

The lawyers of those sentenced announced that they will appeal the decision, while two other defendants were acquitted.

The death penalty is frequently imposed in DR Congo, but it is usually commuted to life imprisonment and has not been applied in 20 years in the country.

In closing arguments Friday, a public prosecutor called for life in prison against the main defendant, Col. Mike Mikombe, but the court sentenced him to death on "murder" charges.

Repression at demonstration against the UN in Congo leaves 48 dead

The prosecutor also requested sentences of 10 to 20 years in prison for the remaining five defendants.

The six soldiers have been on trial since September 5 for the deadly repression of a religious sect that called for protests against the presence of the UN in the eastern region of the country.

The repression left 57 dead, according to the latest report, and generated new tensions in Goma, capital of the province of North Kivu, an area plagued by violence by armed groups.

More than 140 civilians, including about 30 minors, were detained during the military operation on August 30

After the incident, the government quickly announced the arrest of several soldiers and promised to bring justice.

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