Burundi: Four Journalists Sent to Jail

press release

Agnes Ndirubusa, Christine Kamikazi, Terence Mponzenzi and Egide Hererimanan together with their driver Adolphe Masabarakiza were arrested on 22nd October 2019 in Musigati, as they were travelling to Bubanza in the north west of Burundi to report on clashes between the army and a rebel group from South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

On 31 October, the Bubanza tribunal charged the journalists with "complicity of undermining state security" and sent them to jail. Adolphe Masabarakiza was released by the Appeal Court on 20 November.

In a statement , the President of the UBJ, Alexandre Niyungeko, said: "We regret that media professionals are still condemned in our time for exercising their right to information. The condemnation of the four journalists is a strategy orchestrated by the authorities to control the narrative, especially on the eve of the presidential elections this year."

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger, described the harsh sentencing of the journalists as a travesty of justice. "The citizens of Burundi have every right to know what is happening on the frontline with regards to the rebel activities in the western part of the country, and the media have every right to bring such information to the doorsteps of the citizens. We demand a complete review of this sentence and the immediate and unconditional release of our colleagues who were simply doing their jobs as journalists".

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