The International Federation of
Journalists (IFJ) today has backed the mobilisation in support of the liberation
of jailed RFI Swahili journalist, Hassan Ruyakuki who was arrested by security
forces on November 28, 2011, and subsequently convicted by the Appeal court in
Gitega to three years imprisonment following an interview with the leader of
the opposition to President Pierre Nkurunziza.
Ruvakuki was convicted by the Appeal
court of Gitega (centre) which found him guilty on 8 January of “participation
in an organization formed to attack people and their properties” and to serve
three years imprisonment.
The Burundi Union of Journalists
(UBJ in French), an IFJ affiliate, organized a protest march on Tuesday
February 26, in Bujumbura in support of Ruvakiki, despite the ban from the
mayor and a heavily armed security forces around the Court which was the final
“We encourage journalists in Burundi to
increase the mobilization to free their colleague and call once more on the international
community to join forces in this noble struggle for freedom and human rights”
said Gabriel Baglo, IFJ Africa Director. “We called on authorities in Burundi
to stop human rights violations by preventing journalists to demonstrate
Journalists in Burundi have recently
decided to protest peacefully every Tuesday until Ruvakuki is free. Security forces had violently repressed last
week’s protest. This week protesters started the demonstration before they were
stopped by security forces. “We have hopefully started our protest and will
keep it up in solidarity until they free Hassan,” said Alexandre Niyungeko, UBJ President.
The IFJ joins its affiliate UBJ to vigorously
denounce the brutal police attack against journalists, and calls on authorities
to stop bad practices against peaceful protesters.
“The Ministry for Justice has announced that Hassan
Ruvakuki will not be granted full parole as he has already served quite a
quarter of his sentence. We understand now this is harassment against our
colleague. We believe that the trial is political as the real motive was just
an interview of an opponent,” said Alexandre Niyungeko, UBJ President.
For more information, please contact
IFJ: +221 33 867 95 86
The IFJ represents over 600.000 journalists in