petition
#FreeIwacu – free Burundi’s independent journalists!

petition
#FreeIwacu – free Burundi’s independent journalists!

There are just days left to press for the acquittal of four Burundian journalists who are facing the possibility of extremely long jail sentences, perhaps even life imprisonment. Help Reporters Without Borders (RSF) to free these journalists, who work for Iwacu, one of the few independent media outlets still operating in Burundi.

On 30 December, the prosecution requested 15-year jail terms for the four journalists – Christine Kamikazi, Agnès Ndirubusa, Térence Mpozenzi and Egide Harerimana. This would be one of the harshest sentences to be passed on journalists in the region in recent years. The court gave itself a month to reach a verdict, so RSF has only a few days left to put pressure on the Burundian authorities to acquit them.

The reporters were arrested for “complicity in a violation of state security” on 22 October when they tried to cover a surprise incursion into Burundi by a group of Burundian rebels based in the east of the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo who are opposed to President Pierre Nkurunziza’s regime. But, despite a close examination of the journalists’ mobile phones, the authorities found no trace of any communication with the rebel group.

These journalists were just doing their job by going to verify reports of armed clashes. By arresting them in an attempt to suppress coverage of an embarrassing development, the Burundian authorities are just drawing attention to their arbitrary treatment of the media and to the events that the journalists went to cover.

Help RSF to rescue one of Burundi’s few independent media outlets by signing this petition as a matter of urgency and by sharing it on social networks with the #FreeIwacu hashtag.

Every voice counts, act.

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