Homosexuals-affair : burial of a former detainee, denied access to appropriate care (Witnesses and Family)

Homosexuals-affair : burial of a former detainee, denied access to appropriate care (Witnesses and Family)

Mevin Shurweryimana was buried on Tuesday at the Mushasha cemetery in the political capital Gitega. The 33-year-old man died overnight from Thursday to Friday. He was one of twenty defendants imprisoned in Gitega central prison since March 6. Seven of them were sentenced to terms ranging from one to two years in prison on August 22. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

Family, friends and acquaintances accompanied Mevin Shurweryimana to his final resting place. Father of a child and member of the community of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mevin was from the locality of Mugutu in the commune and province of Gitega (central Burundi). He was working as a mobilizer in the “Muco” association until his arrest on February 22, along with 21 other people in the town of Gitega, suspected of homosexuality.

Sources close to the case keep accusing the prison services and the general prosecutor at the Gitega Court of Appeal of having refused him a transfer in time to go for treatment resulting to his death.

“Following the poor conditions of detention, he had developed cirrhosis of the liver. The general prosecutor at the Gitega Court of Appeal, Félicité Nishemezwe, refused him a permission to go and see a medical specialist and be treated. She only granted him, and there also when his health had already deteriorated, permission to be bedridden at the regional hospital of Gitega. It was there that he succumbed”, witnesses who confided in SOS Medias Burundi lament.

Sanctions claim

Relatives of Mevin Shurweryimana denounce the Gitega prosecutor’s behaviour. They demand sanctions against the official they describe as “incompetent and ill-intentioned”.

The Attorney General at the Gitega Court of Appeal Félicité Nishemezwe was not available to respond to these allegations. This Monday, the spokesperson for the Attorney General of the Republic and the head of the central prison of Gitega were not available to answer to our questions, as was the director general in charge of prison affairs. Until Tuesday evening, messages that our newsroom sent them on WhatsApp messaging remained unanswered.

Mevin Shurweryimana was cleared by the judges of the high court of Gitega on August 22. Seventeen other detainees remain in detention at this remand center, despite their acquittal by the same court, regretted a lawyer who denounces “the non-respect of the law”.

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