Two Norwegians convicted of murder, espionage and arms smuggling in the Democratic Republic of Congo have had their death sentences upheld by a military appeal court. The tribunal has now ordered the men and the Norwegian government to pay more than $500 million in damages before they face a firing squad. It’s that kind of logic that indicates the degree to which the trial is a sham. The accused, Joshua French and Tjostolv Moland, were sentenced to death after their driver was found shot dead near the city of Kisangani in the east of the country, a charge they deny. The area is filled with DRC army units backed by some 18,000 UN troops, trying to quell the chaotic aftermath of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. No executions have been carried out since the end of the DRC’s 1998 to 2003 civil war, which killed millions, although the death penalty remains in effect. French and Moland will be hoping that this fact, and intensified international lobbying, will hand them a last minute reprieve. Read more: Reuters, BBC
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