Burundi: lawyer Tony Germain Nkina acquitted

Burundi: lawyer Tony Germain Nkina acquitted

Burundian lawyer and activist Tony Germain Nkina was acquitted on Tuesday morning. The Ngozi Court of Appeal (Northern Burundi) which cleared him also discharged his co-accused Apollinaire Hitimana. Human Rights Watch speaks of “relief”. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

The ruling was long awaited by Burundian activists and human rights organizations. Human Rights Watch, which has always demanded his release, speaks of “relief”.

“We at Human Rights Watch are happy and relieved to learn that Tony Germain Nkina, a lawyer and former human rights defender, was acquitted this morning by the Ngozi Court of Appeal”, told SOS Médias Burundi Clémentine de Montjoye, researcher in the Africa Division at Human Rights Watch.

She recalls that lawyer Nkina spent more than two years “unjustly imprisoned after a trial in which the prosecutor failed to demonstrate credible evidence against him to justify the charges against him of collaboration with rebel groups”.

Human Rights Watch talks about the independent work of justice.

“We therefore welcome the independent work of the Supreme Court of Burundi which overturned his conviction on December 6 and of the Ngozi Court of Appeal which acquitted him this morning”, concluded Clémentine de Montjoye.

Tony Germain Nkina, a lawyer from Kayanza (northern Burundi) was arrested on October 13, 2020 in the district of Kabarore (same province) while visiting his client. He was then briefly detained by the SNR (National Intelligence Service) in the province before being transferred to Ngozi prison (north). He was accused of collaborating with the Red-Tabara armed group, to which attacks were attributed in various localities of Kayanza province this year.

The first judge sentenced him to five years in prison and a fine of one million Burundi francs (about 500 US dollars). His client, whom he was advising in the context of a land dispute and who had been arrested with him, had been found guilty of complicity in the same offense of “collaboration with the rebels who attacked Burundi”, and sentenced to two years in prison in addition to a fine of 500,000 Burundi francs.

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