Burundi: Amnesty calls for release of activist Germain Rukuki

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Rights group Amnesty International is calling for the immediate release of Burundian human rights activist Germain Rukuki.

Rukiki was arrested in 2017 and sentenced to 32 years in prison the following year on charges that included rebellion, breach of State security and “attack on the head of state”. However, rights groups insist the charges are baseless and the activist was detained as a result of his opposition to the human rights violations taking place under former president Pierre Nkurunziza.

Amnesty calls for Rukiki release

“Germain Rukuki is serving a 32-year prison term on baseless charges of ‘rebellion’ and ‘threatening state security’, when all he did was stand up for human rights,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa.

“He must be immediately and unconditionally released, and his conviction overturned.”

The activist has spent almost four years in prison after several failed appeal attempts. However, in June 2020, Burundi’s Supreme Court overturned an earlier Appeal Court decision and ordered the court to reconsider the appeal with a new panel of judges, raising hopes of a breakthrough.

The Supreme Court cited procedural irregularities following a change of judges midway through the initial appeal proceedings.

Speaking ahead of the Appeal Court’s hearing, Amnesty International said it “considers Rukuki a prisoner of conscience detained solely on account of his human rights work”.

Featured image: Amnesty.org

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.