Iwacu journalists and their driver suffer ordeal four days since they were detained

On Friday, October 25, 2019, Agnès Ndirubusa, Christine Kamikazi, Egide Harerimana, Térence Mpozenzi and their driver Adolphe Masabarakiza spent their fourth night in the dungeon of Musigati commune.

The four Iwacu journalists alongside their driver have just spent the fourth night in prison

They feel bad, depressed. Since their arrest last Tuesday, they have not even had the opportunity to take a simple bath. In the morning, the Bubanza Public Prosecutor came to take them out of the prison of the provincial police station. He ordered them to follow him without telling them the destination. They did not know that their ordeal was going to begin.

They came out of the police dungeon, escorted by many policemen, like criminals, before the bewildered and compassionate eyes of the locals.

After a two-kilometer walk, humiliated, they arrived at the dungeon of Musigati commune. There, they discovered their new conditions of incarceration. Very small cells where up to eight persons can be confined. Lice and bedbugs abound everywhere. No water, no electricity.

In the room, a hole that serves as a toilet is shared by all the inmates present in the cell. An unpleasant smell floats in the room. In their previous jail, in the police cell, there was water and electricity. Two slept in a cell, on mattresses that the editorial staff had sent to them.

Here, they have not been allowed to enter their small mattresses. The Public Prosecutor took the little money they had on them, to keep it so they do not get “robbed by other detainees,” he said. The life of Agnès Ndirubusa who is already anemic, is threatened. She feels very weak.

During the day, their fellow colleagues arrive with the newspaper’s lawyer. They beg the Public Prosecutor to send them back to the police cell where the conditions are less severe. The prosecutor replies that journalists must not complain about this degrading treatment “reserved also for their new inmates”. Asked about their release since no charge has so far been brought against them, he responded that the file is “still under investigation”. Yesterday, Agnès, Christine, Térence, Egide and Adolphe slept on the floor between the four walls of the dungeon of Musigati commune.