Burundi: Govt Jails, Fines Coup Plotters

Burundi marked unity day last week, a few days after sentencing of the coup plotters of 2015 to life imprisonment.

The more than 30 individuals were also fined to compensate the victims of the protests that ensued, resulting in the death of more than 1,000 people.

Although the judgement was delivered on Tuesday last week, it was only made public last Thursday by the Supreme Court.

In the ruling, the court named more than 30 people including former military officials, journalists, leaders of civil society organisations and opposition members. They were found guilty of assassinations, offences against state authority and destruction of property.

"The Supreme Court consequently condemns them to life penal servitude accompanied by an additional penalty of prohibition from exercising a public function, professional or social activity for 20 years," the court ruling reads.

"The above mentioned have to pay the state an amount of 1.15 billion franc ($690,000) compensate the Ministry of Defence 361 million francs ($186,000), compensate the ruling party CNDD-FDD 180 million francs ($93,000) and compensate [Rema FM] one of the private radio stations 4.213 billion francs ($2.2 million)," reads the ruling.

The ruling comes as the country is seeking to repair the damage caused by the 2015 aborted coup and the late president Pierre Nkurunziza's controversial term in office.

Hundreds of thousands of Burundians fled to neighbouring countries and more than 1,000 people were killed according to the UN Human Rights Watch.

President Nkurunziza was at the time in neighbouring Tanzania attending the 13th Extraordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State, which had been convened to discuss the situation in Burundi. Army general Godefroid Niyombare was the instigator of the coup.

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