Fortenberry, Fischer Statements on Marcel Pika’s Release

Jan 4, 2018
Press Release

(Lincoln, N.E.) – Congressman Jeff Fortenberry and Senator Deb Fischer today issued the following statements on the return of Marcel Pika to his family in Lincoln, Nebraska:

“I am so happy for the Pika family,” said Fortenberry. “They have been through so much. The love and dedication of this family is an inspiration to our community.  I want to especially commend our United States Ambassador to the Republic of Congo, Todd Haskell, and his team in Brazzaville who worked tirelessly to secure Mr. Pika’s release. We are grateful to know the Pika family is now reunited in Lincoln.”

“After being unjustly detained since March of 2016, Marcel Pika has safely returned to U.S. soil,” said Fischer. “I would like to thank both the State Department and Congressman Fortenberry for working alongside my office to secure Mr. Pika’s release. When I met with the Pika family, I was touched by their incredible strength throughout this difficult time. I join all Nebraskans in welcoming Marcel and his wife, Josephine, home and wishing their family well as they reunite in the days ahead.”

"We are very thankful for Governor Ricketts, Congressman Fortenberry, Senator Fischer, the International Monetary Fund, the State Department officials and the many other people who have played a vital role in the liberation of our father,” said Percy Pika, a son of Marcel Pika. “We would like to give a special thank you to the President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump, for his involvement and support. We also thank all the international and Nebraskan organizations that sustained us during this time. We continue to urge our government officials to fight on behalf of the many other political prisoners still being held captive without a voice and someone to speak on their behalf. We are grateful our parents are home, but it is important to remember that nearly 300 prisoners unjustly remain in the Brazzaville jail.”

“I am really convinced that the U.S., the voice standing for all oppressed in this world, will take priority on this situation and to see the Congo to the freedom that it deserves from these tyrants,” said Marcel Pika.

Marcel Pika, a retired colonel in the Republic of Congo army, immigrated to the U.S. in 1999 and became a citizen in 2005. He returned to live in Congo in 2007 and was arrested in March of 2016. His detention, initial solitary confinement, and long imprisonment are believed to be due to his support of political opponents of the current president, who has ruled Congo for 33 of the last 38 years.

Attached please find Percy and Marcel Pika’s letters of appreciation, which provide the full agonizing tenor and excruciating context to the emotionally wrenching ordeal Marcel and his family have had to endure. 

Congressman Fortenberry is a member of the House Appropriations State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee.