Joshua French, the Norwegian-British man convicted of murder in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was in more trouble on Wednesday after being accused of trying to escape from custody. He was arrested on a street in Kinshasa after he’d secretly won permission to serve his prison term in a rented house.
French was transferred to the house a few months ago, his Norwegian defense attorney confirmed to newspaper Dagbladet, because of his deteriorating health following five years in Congolese prisons. The transfer was kept secret, claimed attorney Hans Marius Graasvold, because both he and Norwegian officials feared negative reaction in Congo if the impression was given he was receiving preferential treatment.
He was under constant guard and Graasvold doubted French tried to escape given his poor health. He may have been tempted to wander freely, though, when he found an open door, Graasvold said. French was taken back to prison after his arrest.
His former Norwegian business partner Tjostolv Moland, who, along with French, had been convicted of their Congolese taxi driver in 2009, was found dead in the prison cell they shared last year in Kinshasa, and French was ultimately charged with Moland’s murder. He was convicted and is thus serving two murder sentences. French has pleaded not guilty to both.