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Alleged Burundi coup 'mastermind' says statements coerced by torture

[JURIST] A Burundi politician whose statements about an alleged coup plot [JURIST report] to overthrow the African nation's government led to a security crackdown told radio stations on Thursday that he was tortured by the Burundi police and intelligence bureau Documentation Nationale and threatened with death if he did not tell the intelligence service that a coup plot existed. Alain Mugabarabona, the leader of the small National Liberation Forces (FNL) Hutu political party, has been accused of masterminding the alleged plot [IOL report] and was among a group of suspects arrested in August [JURIST report]. Mugabarabona says he was coerced into making false statements to Documentation Nationale officials about other alleged conspirators, including former President Domitien Ndayizeye [Wikipedia profile] and former Vice-President Alphonse-Marie Kadege, and that a coup was never planned.

Family members of those arrested have previously accused Burundi authorities of abusing the detainees [JURIST report] by on local radio broadcasts. Violence between the majority Hutus and minority Tutsis has wracked Burundi since its 12-year civil war [Global Security backgrounder], which was sparked by the assassination of the country's first democratically elected Hutu president in 1993. BBC News has more.

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