Melchiade Nzopfabarushe release met with criticism

Melchiade Nzopfabarushe, an influential member of the ruling CNDD-FDD was released on 20 June after he was accused of undermining internal security and threatening people.

Melchiade Nzopfabarushe before judges in Mpimba Central Prison

Melchiade Nzopfabarushe before judges in Mpimba Central Prison

Bujumbura high court had sentenced him to 3 years in jail and fined him BIF 600,000 after he was charged with hate speech against people who would dare to vote No in the Constitutional referendum of May 17.

The Bujumbura High Court prosecutor had relied on a video that went viral on social media to arrest him. Nzopfabarushe was calling on CNDD-FDD members to persecute people who would protest against the amendment to the Constitution.

His remarks had been heavily criticized. CNDD-FDD party had officially disassociated itself from him while civil society organizations and various political parties as well as the international community had condemned his hate speech.

Agnès Bangiricenge, spokesperson for the Supreme Court, has said that after filing the appeal, the Court of Appeal sentenced Nzopfabarushe to a four-month suspended sentence for one year.

Human rights defenders accuse Burundian justice of being manipulated by the ruling CNDD-FDD. “This case just proves that CNDD-FDD members enjoy impunity,” says a human right activist. The fact that the call for massacre is punished only with a four month penalty in Burundi is surprising and inadmissible,” he deplores. .

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