Joshua French accused of escaping from Congo prison
Norwegian citizen Joshua French has been accused of escaping from an open prison in Congo, where he is serving time after being found guilty of murdering his friend and cellmate Tjostolv Moland. French was arrested on Sunday August 3, after he had left the apartment where he is serving time. He had not been granted permission to leave the premises, and did not have a security guard with him. This was perceived as an attempted escape by police in Congo, Dagbladet reports.
For the past several months, French has served time somewhere else other than the Ndolo-prison, due to health concerns. However, he has now been brought back to the prison.
French’s lawyer, Hans Marius Graasvold, does not think that French planned to escape, but that he took advantage of an opportunity that arose. He hopes that the Congolese authorities will take this into consideration, and that he can be brought back to the apartment as soon as possible, where he can get the help that his health condition requires.
Head of Communication in the Department of Foreign Affairs, Frode Andersen, informs that Congolese authorities are responsible for the living conditions and safety of prisoners at all times. Andersen says that the department plans to continue its attempt to start a dialogue with Congolese authorities in order to bring French back to Norway.
French has been imprisoned in Congo for the past five years. Earlier this year he was also accused of killing his cellmate, Tjolstolv Moland. Although Norwegian police concluded that it was a suicide, the Congolese court did not find his case convincing.
Due to French’s poor health, it was decided that he would not appeal the court’s verdict, but rather hope that Congo and Norway would come to an agreement that could bring him back to Norway.