Burundi: Journalist imprisoned for alleged slander

The Writers in Prison Committee of English PEN is deeply concerned by the sentencing of Aloys Kabura to five months’ imprisonment on a charge of “speaking words deemed harmful to the state”.

Kabura, a correspondent for the Agence Burundaise de Presse, was arrested on 31 May 2006 following a conversation in a bar in which he allegedly criticised the government and police for a 17 April attack on journalists.

He was sentenced on 18 September 2006 by a court in Ngozi.

There are reasons to believe that the charges against Kabura were filed in retaliation for his reporting on apparent police and government corruption. Before his arrest he had made it known that he had been followed and threatened by police officers after he wrote an article in January alleging police involvement in sugar smuggling across the border with Rwanda.

Kabura is said to be in poor health, but requests for his release on bail on medical grounds have reportedly been refused.

English PEN protests against the sentencing of Aloys Kabura and calls for his immediate release. PEN calls on the Burundian authorities to uphold press freedoms and the peaceful expression of opinions.

Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/writersinprison/bulletins/burundijournalistimprisonedfor/

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