Covering events from January - December 2004
Opposition activists were arrested and held in incommunicado detention. No progress was made in bringing to justice those responsible for political killings in 1998 or the alleged extrajudicial execution of more than 100 people in 2001 and 2002.
Burkina Faso was accused by the governments of Côte d'Ivoire and Mauritania of fuelling instability in the region by protecting and training armed opposition groups. In turn, the Burkinabè authorities accused several members of the opposition National Union for Democracy and Development (Union Nationale pour la Démocratie et le Développement, UNDD) of supplying information to Mauritania, Côte d'Ivoire and Guinea.
Trial before military court
Seven people were sentenced to up to 10 years' imprisonment in April following trials before a military court; there were concerns about the fairness of the trial. The seven were among several people, most of them military officers, who were arrested in October 2003 following an alleged coup attempt. They were accused of plotting against the state. One detainee died in custody two days after his arrest; the authorities claimed he had hanged himself in his cell.
Arrest of UNDD politicians
Noël Yaméogo, a member of UNDD, was arrested in September on his return from Côte d'Ivoire and reportedly kept in incommunicado detention for six days. He remained held at the National Security (Sûreté nationale) headquarters in Ouagadougou at the end of the year awaiting trial on treason charges.
Hermann Yaméogo, leader of UNDD, was held at Ouagadougou airport for four hours in September for questioning. The authorities announced that his parliamentary immunity would be lifted so that he could stand trial for supplying information to Mauritania, Côte d'Ivoire and Guinea.
In November, Mathieu N'do, UNDD spokesperson and director of the weekly newspaper San Finna, was detained incommunicado for six days at the National Security headquarters in Ouagadougou. He was questioned about his links with Côte d'Ivoire.
No progress was reported in the investigation into the alleged extrajudicial executions of 106 people between October 2001 and January 2002. No one was brought to justice for the killings of journalist Norbert Zongo, Ablassé Nikiema, Ernest Zongo and Blaise Ilboudo in 1998.
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