In the morning of December 25th, 2017, Pika’s family was awakened by an alarming phone call around 6 O’clock in the morning from siblings in the republic of Congo informing them of their Father Marcel Pika, US citizen along with many Congolese opposition leaders. He has been unlawfully detained by the dictator Sassou Nguesso for nearly 2 years for his support to the General Mokoko who ran for the election in 2016. Marcel Pika, diabetic at the age of 70 years old suffered from a stroke while trying to shower in the non-running watered prison bathroom.Thankfully, the other inmates who heard him fall, quickly broke the bathroom’s door open and carried him out to his cell. Marcel was unresponsive and regained conscience after a while. His wife, Josephine Pika, informed, quickly ran to the prison to visit him. She was only allowed 10 minutes to visit her husband that she found to be very weak, shaky, and worried for his life. Marcel told his wife: “I just flirted with death”.
He was seen by the prison’s nurse who was helpless, and he does not have the proper training nor the equipment to even revive or resuscitate anyone in that same situation. The US embassy staff paid him a visit and also acknowledged his weakened body. Conditions in the prison in Congo are inhuman. Constant smell of seward system with prisoners walking in the lagoon. It appears that all their septic tanks were built back in the 1940’s when the prison was being built and no updates were ever done to the prison. It still resembles of the same prison left by the colons. 3 people have already died in these prisons due to negligence, bad treatment from the Congo officials and degrading health conditions. The prisoners are forbidden proper medical care already that no proper hospitals are currently operating due to the country going through his third bankruptcy by the same president in the last 40 years. We had mentioned via many medias about our concerns of the poor healthcare condition of Marcel Pika and the many other prisoners in that prison.
We fear that the continued silence from the international community and their lack of support will result to Marcel PIKA becoming the next Otto Warmbier. The Congolese government recently expelled from their shores a non-profit organization boat that was destined to come and provide health care assistance to the local citizens and their environment. A government champion in the falsification of documents and known to withhold information to the international community was not willing to let the non-profit organization know about the real living condition of its people.
Many organization such as the OCDH and the red cross have sought for an authorization from the government to visit the political prisoners and see their living conditions and were denied access.
Sassou Nguesso and his government have obviously shown more interests in working on getting more funding from the IMF than respecting human rights laws. Many prisoners are perishing in these prisons for no crimes committed other than saying NO to the change in constitution. We are urging the UN and its affiliates to along with the United States government and the international community to get involved and obtain the release of these many political prisoners who are getting an inhuman treatment.