Human rights organizations urge immediate and unconditional release of arrested journalists

In a statement issued on 24 October, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the arrest of four journalists and their driver working for Iwacu newspaper.

Fours journalists and their driver arrested in Bubanza

A team of four journalists of Iwacu newspaper namely Christine Kamikazi, Agnès Ndirubusa, Térence Mpozenzi, Egide Harerimana and their driver Adolphe Masabarakiza were arrested on Tuesday, October 22 in Musigati commune of Bubanza province in the west of Burundi.

They were arrested while going to do report on clashes that erupted on the same day in the morning between armed people and security forces. They were heard on 23 October by a judicial police officer. Their lawyer says there wasn’t any charge against them.

“These journalists were just doing their job by going to verify reports of armed clashes,” said Arnaud Froger, the Head of RSF’s Africa desk.

He believes that by arresting the journalists in an attempt to suppress the coverage of an embarrassing event, the Burundian authorities are just drawing attention to their arbitrary detention and the events they went to cover.

Froger calls on Burundian authorities to free the journalists without delay, to return their equipment and to not associate those making the news with those who just cover it.
In the same vein, Human Rights Watch asked Burundi authorities on 23 October to immediately and unconditionally release the journalists and their driver who are being detained for doing their jobs.

Lewis Mudge, Central Africa Director at Human Rights Watch said journalists play a vital role to shed light on incidents of public interest and should not be prosecuted for legitimate work.