Free Serge Nibizi and Domitile Kiramvu!
Two radio journalists jailed in Bujumbura on state security charge
Reporters Without Borders condemns today’s arrest of Serge Nibizi, editor-in-chief of privately-owned Radio Publique Africaine (RPA), and Domitile Kiramvu, one of his journalists, on charges of “disseminating news threatening state security” and “violating the confidentiality of a judicial investigation.”
“President Pierre Nkurunziza claims to be committed to democratic values, so he should realise that throwing two journalists in prison for purely political reasons, before they have been tried, is contrary to all democratic standards,” the press freedom organisation said.
“Burundi’s donors must put pressure on the president’s office to have Nibizi and Kiramvu released and to have Burundi’s laws amended, as it is unacceptable for journalists to be treated like criminals over the least complaint,” Reporters Without Borders added.
At the end of the afternoon of 21 November, Nibizi, Kiramvu and a third RPA journalist, André-Palice Ndimurukundo, received a summons to report to the Bujumbura prosecutor at 2 p.m. that day. As it was already too late, they went the next morning (yesterday morning). Nibizi and Kiramvu were charged, and were taken to Mpimba prison, while Ndimurukundo was released.
The arrests appear to have been prompted by Kiramvu’s comments on the air last August criticising articles in the fortnightly Intumwa (The Messenger), the mouthpiece of the ruling CNDD-FDD party, that detailed evidence against alleged coup plotters although the case has not yet been sent for trial.
When President Nkurunziza gave a press conference during a visit to Paris on 9 November, Reporters Without Borders asked him about the climate of hostility between the ruling party and Burundi’s privately-owned media. In reply, he insisted on his commitment to press freedom and added, “if ever there was a country in which relations between government and press are peaceful, it is Burundi.”
Burundi, human rights, Current Affairs, Politics, Africa