Burundi : four human rights defenders detained by intelligence in the commercial city of Bujumbura

Burundi : four human rights defenders detained by intelligence in the commercial city of Bujumbura

SNR (National Intelligence Service) agents arrested them at Bujumbura Airport on Tuesday morning as they were about to go to Kampala (Ugandan capital) to participate in a meeting. A provisional arrest warrant had reportedly been issued against them but Burundian authorities have not yet communicated on the reasons for their arrest. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

They are three women and one man : Audace Havyarimana, legal representative of the Association for Peace and the Promotion of Human Rights (APDH), Sylvana Inamahoro, executive director of this association, Sonia Ndikumasabo, chairperson of the Association of Women Lawyers of Burundi (AFJB) and Marie Emerusabe, general coordinator of the same association.

“They were arrested this morning at Bujumbura airport and taken directly to an intelligence cell in the same town”, reported sources familiar with the matter.

“The SNR has confirmed orally to the CNIDH (National Independent Human Rights Commission) that investigations have been launched against four members of associations”, we learned Tuesday evening from concordant sources.

According to our sources, an arrest warrant was issued by a prosecutor against the four concerned.

“It was not the first time that these human rights defenders have visited the Ugandan capital as part of their mission. It is bizarre that they are apprehended today”, said informed sources.

The Attorney General of the Republic, Sylvestre Nyandwi, and the spokesperson for the General Prosecutor’s Office, Agnès Bangiricenge, were not available to react to this information.

The Burundian justice did not release any related press release either.

In his recent visit to Burundi, Eamon Gilmore, European Union Special Representative for Human Rights, indicated that there are “human rights challenges in the country”.

One of the people in detention, namely Sonia Ndikumasabo, is a former vice-president of the national independent human rights commission.

Anschaire Nikoyagize, president of Ligue Iteka, the oldest human rights organization in the small East African nation, confirmed that he was aware of the arrest of the four human rights defenders in Burundi, without giving more details.

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