Activists and Journalists in Burundi Organize Against Jailing of Fellow Journalist
June 23, 2012
“The journalists are angry about the situation,’’ Nikiza said. “They feel that this decision is incompetent … and should not be respected.’’
Ruvakuki, who reported for Radio France Internationale, was sentenced along with 13 others for their alleged role in an attack in which gunmen killed more than 30 people at a bar in a town near the border with Tanzania last September.
The court’s decision has been criticized by the Committee to Protect Journalists, which said in a statement Wednesday from Nairobi, Kenya, that an appeals court must acquit Ruvakuki.
“Ruvakuki’s defense counsel said the judges had not been impartial during the trial that the government was pressuring the court to find a conviction, according to local journalists,’’ the statement said.
According to CPJ, “the verdict was based on Ruvakuki’s November 2011 trip to a rebel-held area along Burundi’s border with Tanzania, during which he recorded an audio statement from Pierre Claver Kabirigi, a former police officer who claimed to be the leader of a new rebel group, the Front for the Restoration of Democracy-Abanyagihugu.’’