Burundi: Unrelenting Court Gives Journalist Three-Year Jail Term On Appeal

press release

Photo: AllAfrica
Journalists at work.

Reporters Without Borders is deeply disappointed to learn that an appeal court in the central city of Gitega today imposed a three-year jail sentence on the journalist Hassan Ruvakuki instead of overturning his conviction.

The court changed the charge on which Ruvakuki is convicted to "participation in an association formed with the aim of attacked persons and property." In June, a lower court sentenced him to life imprisonment on a charge of terrorism.

Reporters Without Borders regards today's decision as a sign that certain Burundian officials were determined to punish Ruvakuki at all costs. Several sources in Gitega reported that the appeal court had been under heavy pressure from the state security apparatus not to acquit him.

In response to this incomprehensible verdict, Reporters Without Borders is launching a petition for the release of Ruvakuki, who was working for Bonesha FM, a local radio station, and the Swahili service of Radio France Internationale at the time of his arrest in November 2011. Sign the petition.

Ruvakuki was accused of complicity with a rebel group when all he did was his duty as a journalist to anticipate the news. Shortly before his arrest, he went to neighbouring Tanzania to cover a Burundian rebel group that was being formed there.

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2013 Reporters sans Frontières. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.

InFocus

Assaults on Journalists Mount

Journalists at work.

In countries ranging from Ethiopia and Burundi to Egypt and the Gambia, journalists are being jailed for long prison terms, arrested and even assaulted while interviewing ... Read more »