Last Updated: Thursday, 24 April 2014, 11:39 GMT

Annual Prison Census 2012 - Burundi

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date 11 December 2012
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Annual Prison Census 2012 - Burundi, 11 December 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/50c702862.html [accessed 25 April 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Journalists in prison as of December 1, 2012

Burundi: 1

Hassan Ruvakuki, Radio Bonesha and Radio France Internationale
Imprisoned: November 28, 2011

Agents from the Burundian National Intelligence Service arrested Ruvakuki, a reporter for the private broadcaster Radio Bonesha and correspondent for the French government-funded Radio France Internationale, as he covered a press conference in the capital, Bujumbura, according to local journalists. He was held without access to a lawyer for two days before Télésphore Bigiriman, a spokesman for the country's intelligence agency, confirmed his arrest in an interview with Agence France-Presse, according to news reports.

Local journalists said Ruvakuki was arrested in connection with a November 2011 trip he took to a rebel-held area along Burundi's border with Tanzania, during which he recorded a statement from Pierre Claver Kabirigi, a former police officer who claimed to be the leader of a new rebel group, according to local journalists. The arrest came amid a government clampdown on coverage of the group. Radio Publique Africaine, another independent station, had also aired a recent interview with Kabirigi. The government-controlled media regulatory agency issued a directive forbidding coverage that could "undermine the security of the population."

In June 2012, a court in the eastern town of Cankuzo found Ruvakuki guilty of "participating in terrorist attacks" under the penal code and sentenced him to life imprisonment, Patrick Nduwimana, interim director of Radio Bonesha, told CPJ. The defense raised numerous questions about the fairness of the legal proceedings, challenging the impartiality of the judges hearing the case, and saying they had blocked defense access to prosecution files. An appeal was pending in late year.

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