DR Congo Jails Six For Life Over Italian Envoy’s Murder


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

Initially, public prosecutors sought the death penalty for the six accused, referring to them as members of a “criminal gang.”

Luca Attanasio was one of three people killed when a United Nations convoy was ambushed in the DRC’s troubled east on February 22, 2021.

Mustapha Milambo, the driver, and Italian police officer Vittorio Iacovacci were also killed.

Lawyers for the six Congolese men announced on Friday that they would appeal the life sentences.

Five of the men are being held in prison in Kinshasa, while the other is on the run.

Previously, the prosecution portrayed the defendants as criminals who planned to kidnap the ambassador and demand a $1 million ransom.

The defendants, who were arrested in January 2022, denied any wrongdoing and claimed that their initial confessions were obtained by torture.

Their attorneys also argued that the prosecution had failed to present evidence in support of the murder charges, and they sought acquittal.

On Friday, the military tribunal also awarded Italy damages in the amount of $2 million Congolese francs.

Much of eastern DRC is prey to armed groups, many of which are a legacy of regional wars that flared during the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Militia attacks against civilians in the volatile region are common.

The DRC has observed a de-facto moratorium on capital punishment since 2003, according to the UN, but courts continue to hand down death sentences.

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