• Urgent Action


September 20, 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,

I am concerned by the continued arbitrary detention of journalist Floriane Irangabiye, and about her state of health and conditions of detention.

On May 2nd, the Court of Appeal of Mukaza, in Bujumbura, Burundi, issued its decision to reject Floriane Irangabiye’s appeal and uphold her conviction of “undermining the integrity of the national territory” on account of comments she made on Radio Igicaniro in August 2022. The court reaffirmed her 10-year prison sentence and fine of one million Burundian francs (about 482 USD). While the court found that her initial interrogation by the National Intelligence Service (SNR) contravened Article 10 of the Criminal Procedure Code, as it was conducted without a lawyer present and without being informed of her right to remain silent, it did not offer a remedy because interrogation by the SNR was not one of the circumstances in which the law explicitly provides for nullifying the procedure. Her lawyers have submitted a further appeal request to the Cassation Chamber of the Supreme Court.

Floriane Irangabiye has suffered from asthma since childhood. Her condition has deteriorated while in detention in Muyinga prison, where she is being held in a damp cell close to a smoky kitchen. In late May, her medicines stopped being effective, and after intervention from your Ministry, she consulted with a doctor in early June. She was not authorized to attend a follow-up appointment in mid-July. In late July, she started having difficulty breathing and suffered chest pain and severe headaches. This culminated in a health crisis on the night of July 24th. While she received medical assistance the following day, her health remains poor and her condition appears to be exacerbated by the conditions of detention. In May 2023, a formal request was submitted for her transfer to Bujumbura, where she would be closer to her family and could receive more adequate medical attention.

I urge you to take all necessary steps to ensure that Floriane Irangabiye is immediately and unconditionally released, and her flawed conviction immediately quashed. In the meantime, she must be held in detention conditions that conform to international standards (as per the Mandela Rules) and be granted access to adequate health care, including through transfer to an outside hospital or prison with more adequate health care facilities.

Yours sincerely,