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Startseite Urgent Actions 2023 02 Journalist’s conviction must be overturned
UA 013/23
Abgeschlossen am 3. April 2023

Journalist’s conviction must be overturned

AI-Index: AFR 16/6414/2023

On 2 January, the High Court of Mukaza in Bujumbura, Burundi, sentenced journalist Floriane Irangabiye to 10 years in prison and a fine of one million Burundian francs (USD 482). She was convicted on trumped-up charges of «undermining the integrity of the national territory». Her lawyers have appealed this decision. Floriane Irangabiye was arrested on 30 August 2022 while on a family visit in Bujumbura. She is currently being held at the Muyinga Prison. Amnesty International believes that Floriane Irangabiye is being prosecuted solely for peacefully exercising her human rights and for her work as a journalist and calls for her immediate and unconditional release.


Floriane Irangabiye has been living in Rwanda for more than a decade. Before the 2015 crisis, she used to make regular trips between the capital, Kigali, where she resides, and Bujumbura, Burundi, where her family lives.

When former President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run for a third term in office in April 2015, many Burundians took to the streets to express their frustration against the decision that they believed violated the 2005 Burundian Constitution which limited presidential terms to two terms of 5 years. Her trip in August 2022 was the first time she visited her family in Bujumbura since 2015.

Burundi’s civil society and media organizations were among the first targets of the government repression in 2015. The government suspended or closed most independent human rights organizations and media outlets and drove them into exile. Despite promises by President Ndayishimiye to normalize relations with the media in 2021, the Burundian government continues to view the press and human rights work with suspicion, and severe restrictions on human rights, including the right to freedom of expression, remain in place.

Most independent human rights organizations have been unable to resume their activities in Burundi, especially as the Burundian authorities have issued arrest warrants for many of their leading activists, who live in exile. 12 human rights defenders and journalists were among a group of 34 people sentenced to life in prison in absentia in June 2020 on accusations of involvement in an attempted coup in May 2015; the Supreme Court judgment was not made public until February 2021.

Arrest or detention as punishment for the peaceful exercise of human rights, including the right to freedom of expression, is arbitrary and violates the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and  the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights both of which Burundi has ratified. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has determined that those detained solely for the peaceful exercise of their human rights must be immediately released.

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