Burundi: PARCEM to lodge an appeal for its three representatives sentenced by Muramvya Court

Three representatives of local NGO involved in changing people’s mindset (PARCEM) accused of high treason were sentenced of 10 years’ imprisonment and BIF 200.000 each in fine by Muramvya High Court on 8 March.

Three local PARCEM representatives in public hearing

Three local PARCEM representatives in public hearing

Faustin Ndikumana, PARCEM Chairman says his organization is shocked to hear the sentence pronounced against the three local representatives in Muramvya Province. “This is an exaggerated sentence,” says Ndikumana.

The sentence concerns Emmanuel Nshimirimana, Marius Nizigiyimana and Aimé-Constant Gatore.
Ndikumana says the accusation of “high treason” is a serious accusation for people who were just preparing an ordinary meeting adding that the administrative officials were informed about the activity.

Faustin Ndikumana says the meeting would focus on detention conditions of prisoners in Muramvya province. “They were arrested while they were identifying people should attend the meeting”, he says.

For him, accusing them of high treason before the meeting took place was unfair; they should be accused if ever there were among participants those who would disrupt security.

Ndikumana also says the public hearing which began on 5 January was characterized by many irregularities. “The director of the public prosecutions did not convince the public.

PARCEM Chairman says due to the judgment postponement for several times, the last hearing was fixed on 12 March. “We surprisingly learned that the judgment was pronounced on 8 March while we were preparing to go to Muramvya Province to get informed about the judgement”, he says.

Faustin Ndikumana says his organization has decided to lodge an appeal. “We still trust our judicial system. We expect that the court of appeal will exercise its jurisdiction so that the accused be released”, he says.