Reacting to news that Burundian human rights defender Germain Rukuki’s prison sentence has been reduced from 32 years to one, Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa said:
“This is fantastic news, not only for Germain and his family, but also for hundreds of thousands of human rights campaigners around the world who have tirelessly campaigned for his release over the past four years.
“The appeal court’s decision to reduce his prison term from 32 years to one is a step in the right direction. But Germain should never have been jailed in the first place, and his conviction on the charge of rebellion still needs to be quashed.”
Germain has spent four years behind bars simply for his human rights work. He was convicted and jailed in 2018 on trumped-up charges. In a decision dated 4 June, but only publicly announced yesterday, the Ntahangwa Court of Appeal overturned Germain’s conviction for “participation in an insurrectional movement”, “threatening internal state security”, and “attack on the authority of the State.” His conviction for “rebellion” was, however, upheld. With his sentence reduced to one year in prison and a fine of 50,000 Burundian francs (roughly 25 USD), Germain is expected to be released soon.
For previous reporting on the case, please see:
Burundi: 32-year sentence for defending human rights an insult to justice | Amnesty International
Burundi: Human rights defender jailed for 32 years must be released | Amnesty International
Burundi: Global campaign to free Germain Rukuki launched today | Amnesty International
OPED: Time to release Burundian human rights defender Germain Rukuki | Amnesty International
Burundi: Authorities must quash Germain Rukuki’s conviction and release him | Amnesty International