• Urgent Action


August 1, 2023

On May 2, 2023, the Court of Appeal of Mukaza in Bujumbura, Burundi, upheld the conviction of Burundian journalist Floriane Irangabiye for “undermining the integrity of the national territory” and her 10-year prison sentence. The appeal court failed to provide a remedy for violations of her right to a fair trial. She has been in detention since her arrest in August 2022 and was prosecuted on account of her work as a journalist and her peaceful exercise of her human rights. Her conviction is based on comments made during an online radio show, in violation of her right to freedom of expression. Amnesty International calls for her immediate and unconditional release and for her conviction to be immediately quashed.   


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Mme Domine Banyankimbona
Minister of Justice
Email:[email protected]
Twitter: @MiniJustice_BDI
Ambassador Jean de Dieu Ndikumana
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


Your Excellency,

On the night of June 3, 2016, 1,300 men and boys considered to be of fighting age were subjected to enforced disappearance by the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), a state-affiliated armed group, as they were trying to flee the city of Saqlawiya, in Anbar Governorate, central Iraq, with their families. Out of the 1,300 men and boys, at least 643 remain subject to enforced disappearance – a crime under international law. Their families have lived in agony ever since, not knowing whether their loved ones are safe or even still alive.

According to credible testimonies gathered by Amnesty International from former abductees, witnesses and relatives of those forcibly disappeared, the group fleeing Saqlawiya was met by armed individuals carrying machine guns and assault rifles. Witnesses identified the armed men as members of the PMU, based on emblems on their uniforms and flags. Armed members of the PMU separated the men and boys from the rest of the group and took them to buildings, garages and abandoned shops in the nearby area, confiscating their identity documents, phones and other valuables, and later bound their hands behind their backs, in most cases using plastic cuffs. At sunset, several buses arrived and together with a large truck transported a number of these boys and men. To date, the fate of those who boarded these vehicles remains unknown.

On June 5, 2016, the previous Prime Minister, Haidar al-Abadi, set up a committee to investigate disappearances and abuses committed in the context of military operations to retake Falluja. Separately, the local government of Anbar governorate also set up a committee which published its findings and stated that 643 internally displaced men and boys from the area of Saqlawiya are missing. To this date, both committees have failed to disclose any meaningful information on the fate and whereabouts of the 643 men and boys.

We urgently call on Your Excellency to launch an impartial, prompt and independent investigation with a view to establishing the fate and whereabouts of the disappeared; to publicly disclose the findings of all previous investigations by all the committees established; to take immediate steps to reveal the fate and whereabouts of those who had been forcibly disappeared by the PMU and to provide justice, truth and reparation to all victims and their families.



Dear Minister,

I am concerned by the continued arbitrary detention and unfair prosecution of journalist Floriane Irangabiye.

On 30 March, the Court of Appeal of Mukaza in Bujumbura, Burundi, held a hearing on the appeal against her conviction and sentencing to ten years in prison and one million Burundian francs (around USD 482). The court will make its decision within 30 days of the hearing.

On 30 August 2022, Floriane Irangabiye was arrested by Burundian security forces while on a family visit in Bujumbura. The High Court of Mukaza’s found her guilty of “undermining the integrity of the national territory’ on 2 January. According to her lawyers the High Court failed to consider procedural irregularities during her arrest – including the denial of access to her lawyer when she was first interrogated- and the lack of any admissible evidence against her.

During her trial at the end of 2022, the prosecution presented comments made during an August 2022 show on Radio Igicaniro. At this Burundian online media outlet, Floriane Irangabiye 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.

Floriane Irangabiye’s prosecution is politically motivated and a sign that the Burundian authorities intend to continue restricting the civic space, despite promises by President Evariste to improve the country’s human rights record.

I urge you to take all necessary steps to ensure that Floriane Irangabiye is immediately and unconditionally released. Her conviction and ongoing arbitrary detention are in violation of her rights to freedom of expression and fair trial.

Yours sincerely,