Burundi president admits 'isolated' instances of military and police abuse

[JURIST] The president of Burundi [JURIST news archive] admitted Thursday that instances of torture and brutality by police and members of the military do sometimes occur in the country, but told reporters in Paris that the perpetrators of those ‘isolated’ incidents are arrested approximately 85% of the time. President Pierre Nkurunziza [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] was responding to new allegations [press release] by Amnesty International [advocacy website] that 11 men suspected of being involved with the National Liberation Forces [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] are being held without charge in harsh conditions, with little access to food, water, or toilet facilities. Last month Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] issued a report [text; JURIST report] accusing Burundi’s National Intelligence Service of widespread abuses, including extrajudicial executions.

Nkurunziza also answered questions on freedom of the press, specifically about Aloys Kabura, a journalist who was jailed for 5 months after making comments in a bar critical of the government. Nkurunziza said that without his influence, Kabura would have spent years in prison. Nkurunziza, a former rebel, became his country’s elected leader in August 2005, the first of his kind since civil war broke out in 1993. AFP has more.



 

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