Burundi: Four journalists jailed for ‘undermining state security’

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A court in Burundi has sentenced four journalists to two and a half years in prison for attempting to undermine state security.

The journalists were arrested in October in the western province of Bubanza Province while covering an incursion of rebels from neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). They worked for private media organisation Iwacu, one of the few remaining independent media groups in Burundi.

Burundi imprisons four journalists

The prosecution pushed for 15-year sentences, focusing its case around a WhatsApp message between one of the journalists and an overseas colleague that allegedly said: “We are heading for Bubanza… to help the rebels.”

Rights groups including Amnesty International have condemned the conviction of the four journalists.

“The conviction and sentencing of Agnès Ndirubusa, Christine Kamikazi, Egide Harerimana and Térence Mpozenzi on trumped-up charges marks a sad day for the right to freedom of expression and press freedom in Burundi.

Iwacu founder, Antoine Kaburahe, who lives in exile in Belgium, took to Twitter to confirm the organisation will appeal the decision.

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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.