Following the conviction and sentencing to 32 years in jail of Burundian human rights defender Germain Rukuki on a range of trumped-up charges, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes Seif Magango said:
“Germain Rukuki’s wrongful conviction and shockingly excessive jail sentence violate his rights and are an insult to justice. He has committed no crime, but has rather been persecuted for daring to speak out against the human rights violations in Burundi.
“This conviction – built on an array of charges fabricated by the authorities – must be overturned, and Germain released immediately.
Germain Rukuki, president of the Njabutsa Tujane community organization and an employee of the Burundian Catholic Lawyers Association, was arrested in July 2017.
The following month, he was charged with “threatening state security” and “rebellion” for being an employee of Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT)-Burundi.
His trial began in February 2018, when he was additionally charged with “assassination”, “destruction of public and private buildings” and “participation in an insurrectionist movement”.
During his second hearing on 8 April 2018 he was accused of “being part of an insurrection movement in 2015”, when there were widespread protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term in office.
Germain was last night found guilty of rebellion, participation in an insurrectionist movement and being a threat to state security by the Ntahangwa High Court in Bujumbura.