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We were forced to join failed coup ploy in DRC -American Citizens confess



Felix Tshisekedi

Two American citizens on trial in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for their alleged involvement in a failed coup in May have testified that they were coerced by the coup leader, Christian Malanga.

Marcel Malanga, 22, and Benjamin Reuben Zalman-Polun, 36, appeared in court on Friday alongside 52 other defendants, including citizens from various countries.

The charges against them include illegal arms possession, criminal conspiracy, and terrorism, Diaspora Digital Media gathered.

Malanga and Zalman-Polun claimed that Christian Malanga, who was killed by security forces during the attempted coup, threatened to kill them if they did not comply with his plans.

Marcel Malanga, who is Christian Malanga’s son, stated that he had no prior involvement in the plot and was only in Congo at his father’s invitation.

Tyler Thompson Jr., 21, another American defendant, was also present in court.

His family has maintained that he had no knowledge of Christian Malanga’s intentions and was unaware of the coup plans.

The trial has raised concerns about the treatment of the defendants, with the US Embassy in Congo stating that it had yet to gain access to the American prisoners to provide consular services before the trial.

Human Rights Watch has also expressed concerns about the detention of Jean-Jacques Wondo, a prominent Belgian-Congolese researcher, who was arrested based on an old photo.

The trial has been adjourned until Monday, July 8, and the families of the defendants are crowdfunding for legal expenses and travel funds to be present for the rest of the trial.

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They have also expressed concerns about the health and well-being of their loved ones, with Marcel Malanga suffering from a liver disease and Tyler Thompson contracting malaria earlier in the trip.

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