Over 700 detainees received presidential pardon

740 prisoners including 450 accused of protesting against the reelection of Burundi President in 2015 were released on 16 March following the measure of presidential pardon. Laurentine Kanyana, Minister of Justice, calls on them to participate in promoting peace and the country’s development.

People who received presidentiel pardon

People who received presidentiel pardon

Kanyana mentioned that 2800 detainees throughout the country received presidential pardon. She said 200 of them are women while 80 are minors plus103 children born in prison.

For her, these women benefit from “great clemency”: “If we relied on simple selection criteria, they wouldn’t be released,” said Kanyana arguing that the commission in charge of selecting beneficiaries of presidential pardon considered their “important role” in their families.

Kanyana asks the Ministry of the Interior to provide them peace training. She urged magistrates, to accelerate trial proceedings. She called on released prisoners to avoid being manipulated by politicians in this period of constitutional referendum.

Jean Marie Nshimirimana, Legal Representative of the association fighting for prisoners’ rights Ntabariza, appreciates the measure of the president. He, however, says: “It’s not enough, we need other measures to release more prisoners.” He proposes that the latter should serve sentences with development work which a public interest.

Nshimirimana criticizes the attitude of some magistrates, judges, etc. “of detaining people unjustly, often due to the influence of the authorities, which increases the burden to the country”. He urges the Ministry of Justice to control these behaviors.

These released people were taken to their home provinces in police vehicles and each woman received 8kg of rice.