Arrested for commemorating the dead? Rights groups condemn imprisonment of Tutsi activists over memorial event for 1993 genocide
BUJUMBURA (Reuters) - A Burundian human rights group denounced on Tuesday what it called "continuing human rights violations" by the government after three Tutsi activists were arrested for threatening state security.
The trio, members of the AC Genocide Tutsi association, were detained on Sunday in the central Gitega province, where they had travelled to attend a commemoration ceremony for Tutsis killed in 1993 at the start of the country's civil war.
Local media cited provincial officials as saying they had held an illegal meeting, which threatened public security.
"The impression we have is that the government wants to muzzle, intimidate those who express freely their opinions which the authorities are not happy about," said Jean Marie Vianey Kavumbagu, head of Burundi's biggest human rights group, Iteka.
"We are really concerned by this," he told Reuters, adding that the moves violated Burundi's constitution and international laws. A government spokesman was unavailable for comment.
The arrests come after Burundi's public prosecutor ordered a peace activist detained for criticising how the government handled peace talks with the country's sole remaining rebel group.
Former lawmaker Terence Nahimana was arrested this month by security agents for having links with the Hutu Forces for National Liberation (FNL), whose political wing he left in 1990.
Kavumbagu also cited an incident when around 20 journalists complained of being beaten by police while attending a news conference at the home of an expelled ruling party legislator.
Burundi is finally enjoying peace after 12 years of civil war that pitted rebels from the Hutu majority against a government controlled by the Tutsi minority.
More than 300,000 people died in the central African nation.
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Burundi, human rights, Current Affairs, Politics, Africa