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Sat Dec 25, 2021, 09:31 AM

I survived imprisonment in Burundi

In July 2017, my wife Emelyne Mupfasoni and I were woken up by dozens of heavily armed members of the security forces who stormed our home in Burundi. Emelyne was five months away from giving birth to our third child. The officers searched our house, seized my wife’s laptop, drove me to my office to search there too, and seized my laptop and other items. They then took me to the cells of the National Intelligence Service where I was held in custody for two weeks. I was kept in inhuman conditions in the National Intelligence Service cell in Bujumbura before being transferred to Ngozi prison in northern Burundi.

My arrest came as no surprise. Human rights defenders, young people and political opponents from Burundi who called for the respect of the law have been targeted as criminals since 2015. In April of that year, then-President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his decision to stand for a third term in office – a move widely considered to be in breach of the country’s constitution. As many Burundians voiced their rejection of this move in street demonstrations, the government launched a wave of repression across the country.


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