On January 2, the High Court of Mukaza in Bujumbura, Burundi, sentenced journalist Floriane Irangabiye to 10 years in prison and a fine of one million Burundian francs (USD 482). She was convicted on trumped-up charges of “undermining the integrity of the national territory”. Her lawyers have appealed this decision. Floriane Irangabiye was arrested on August 30, 2022 while on a family visit in Bujumbura. She is currently being held at the Muyinga Prison. Amnesty International believes that Floriane Irangabiye is being prosecuted solely for peacefully exercising her human rights and for her work as a journalist and calls for her immediate and unconditional release.
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Minister of Justice
PO Box: 1880
Email: [email protected] ; [email protected]
Embassy of the Republic of Burundi
2233 Wisconsin Ave. NW Washington DC 20007
Phone: 202 342 2574
Contact form: https://burundiembassy-usa.com/index.php/contact
Salutation: Dear Ambassador
I am appalled by the conviction and arbitrary detention of journalist, Floriane Irangabiye who on 2 January 2023 was sentenced to 10 years in prison and a one million Burundian francs fine by the High Court of Mukaza in Bujumbura for “undermining the integrity of the national territory.”. Her lawyers appealed this decision on 23 January.
Floriane Irangabiye was arrested on 30 August 2022 while visiting family in Bujumbura, the former capital of Burundi. She was held without being formally charged until October 2022. During the trial, the prosecution presented comments made during the broadcasting of a show, in August 2022, on Radio Igicaniro, a Burundian online media outlet where she and her guests criticized the government of Burundi. In an audio record of the show retrieved by the prosecutor, she purportedly said: “the population is resigned to the evils of the leaders of Burundi, citizens do not express themselves for fear of being killed, we call on Burundians to brave the fear.” The prosecution also presented as evidence photos of her posing with President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and former President Pierre Buyoya at public events. She was also accused of participating in meetings held by Burundian youths in exile in Rwanda.
In September 2022, she was transferred to the Muyinga Prison, in the northern province of Muyinga, where she remains held.
Floriane Irangabiye’s unfair prosecution is motivated by continuous efforts by Burundian authorities to clamp down on peaceful dissent, despite multiple promises by President Evariste Ndayishimiye to improve the country’s human rights situation. Her conviction and ongoing arbitrary detention are in violation of her rights to freedom of expression and fair trial.
I urge you to instruct the Prosecutor General of the Republic to ensure that Floriane Irangabiye is immediately and unconditionally released. Authorities must quash the conviction and drop all charges against her.