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Page last updated at 16:17 GMT, Friday, 4 December 2009

DR Congo stays Norway executions

Norwegian citizens Tjostolv Moland, left, and Joshua French, right, listen to a judge reading out their sentence in Kisangani, DR Congo, on 8 September 2009
The men had been sentenced to death by firing squad

Norway has said it has been assured by the Democratic Republic of Congo that two Norwegian nationals sentenced to death will not now be executed.

Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said he had received the guarantee from his DRC counterpart, Alexis Thambwe Mwamba.

Joshua French, who holds joint British-Norwegian nationality, and Tjostolv Moland were convicted in September of murdering a taxi driver and spying.

The two men lost an appeal at a military tribunal on 3 December.

Mr Stoere said that Mr Thambwe Mwamba had assured him during a conversation that a moratorium on executions in DR Congo meant that the death sentence would not be carried out.

The tribunal appeal in Kisangani upheld the death sentences on Moland and French - former Norwegian soldiers convicted of murdering their Congolese driver.

They and the Norwegian state were also ordered to pay $500m (£300m) in damages.

The rulings drew immediate international protests amid claims of miscarriages of justice.

Norwegian national broadcaster NRK says the pair plan to appeal against the sentence in Kinshasa's supreme court, AP news agency reports.

Moland and French have been held since May this year since their Congolese driver was found shot dead.

Both men deny murdering Abedi Kasongo, 47, maintaining that he was shot and killed when their car was ambushed by gunmen on the road near the city of Kisangani.



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SEE ALSO
Norway pair fail in death appeal
03 Dec 09 |  Africa
Norway pair face death in Congo
09 Sep 09 |  Africa

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