December 3, 2009 / 5:40 PM / 10 years ago

Congo court upholds death penalty for Norwegians

Norwegians Tjostolv Moland (L) and Joshua French (R) sit in a military tribunal in the city of Kisangani in Democratic Republic of Congo, August 28, 2009. REUTERS/Thomas Hubert

KINSHASA (Reuters) - A Congolese military appeal court on Thursday upheld death sentences against two Norwegians convicted of murder and espionage and ordered them and their government to pay more than $500 million in damages, the judge said.

The accused, Joshua French, 27, and Tjostolv Moland, 28, were sentenced to death in September for murder, espionage and arms smuggling after their driver was found shot dead near the city of Kisangani in the lawless east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. French also has British citizenship.

“The decision that was taken by the first court was upheld. The damages claim was revised upward. The state requested $800 million. The court granted $500 million,” Colonel Pascal Moliba, the head of the military tribunal, told Reuters.

No executions have been carried out since the country’s 1998-2003 war, although the death penalty remains in effect.

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