ALERT: MEA Laureate 2007 Pierre Claver Mbonimpa arrested in Burundi

May 16, 2014

 

MEA Laureate 2007 Pierre-Claver Mbonimpa

MEA Laureate 2007 Pierre-Claver Mbonimpa

MEA Laureate 2007, Pierre-Clavier Mbonimpa, was arrested this morning early. The latest information is that he is still detained  at the Police-Judiciare. The background is rising tension in Burundi, where it is feared that President Pierre Nkurunziza is expected to campaign for a third term in office in 2015 despite a two-term constitutional limit. The Economist of 29 March 2014 already carried an article under the prescient title “Trouble Ahead” and on 17 April Paul Debbie, security chief at the UN office in Burundi, was ordered to leave the country in connection with a UN report disliked by the Government containing “allegations of weapons distribution to members of the youth league of the ruling party”. [http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2014/04/burundi-expels-un-official-over-arms-report-2014417144546195161.html] It is feared that this youth wing, named the Imbonerakure, are being armed and trained in weapons use, raising fears of a return to civil war, even of genocide. No charges have been brought against Mbonimpa, but it is believed that the arrest is related to comments made on the radio regarding the above.

Pierre Claver Mbonimpa was invited to appear on the talk show “Kabizi” on 6 May. During the show, the human rights defender denounced the ongoing distribution of weapons to young people in Burundi [i.e. the Imbonerakure]. In addition, he commented on the reports of the presence of elements of the Burundian army in Eastern Congo and the training of young Burundians in the DRC by Burundian security services. Later that day, the judicial police sent him a summons to appear at their headquarters the next day. When the human rights defender presented himself to the police on 7 May 2014, he was questioned on his statements made on the radio. Pierre Claver Mbonimpa reportedly provided the police with the evidence he had to substantiate his comments [for details see in French:http://www.isanganiro.org/spip.php?article6849] . The human rights defender was summoned again on 12 May 2014, and then on 14 May 2014. On 12 May, Pierre Claver Mbonimpa appeared before the police as expected, but chose not to appear in person on 14 May, sending his lawyer instead. The human rights defender had reportedly received credible information that the police were planning to arrest him on that day. On 15 May 2014, Pierre Claver Mbonimpa received a fourth summons ordering him to appear before the police on the morning of 19 May 2014. None of the summons indicated what offence the human rights defender is suspected to have committed. They simply stated that he was to appear for the purposes of an ‘enquête judiciaire’ (judicial inquiry). On 16 May, around oh30 am, Burundian police arrested Pierre Claver Mbonimpa at the international airport of Bujumbura, as he prepared to board a flight to Nairobi, Kenya. The human rights defender was immediately taken to the Commissariat in charge of criminal investigations in Bujumbura where he remains in detention.

[Pierre Claver Mbonimpa is the president of Association Burundaise pour la Promotion des Droits Humains et des Personnes Détenues – APRODH (Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Prisoners), one of the most active human rights organisations in Burundi. For several years, the human rights defender has exposed acts of torture and poor living conditions in Burundi’s prisons, and advocated against extra-judicial killings in the country.]

Front Line Defenders has issued an action appeal: https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/25956. Please go there and sign up.

 

 

3 Responses to “ALERT: MEA Laureate 2007 Pierre Claver Mbonimpa arrested in Burundi”


  1. […]  reports that on 26 May 2014, the Bujumbura Court of First Instance refused a request for release due to unlawful arrest (Habeas Corpus) filed by human rights defender Mr Pierre Claver Mbonimpa in Burundi. Mbonimpa – Laureate of the MEA in 2007 – has been in detention since 16 May 2014 and is currently being held in the Central Prison of Mpimba. More information on Pierre Claver Mbonimpa’s case is available on http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/25956 and my previous post https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/alert-mea-laureate-2007-pierre-claver-mbonimpa-arrested-in-b…. […]


  2. […] September 6, 2014 On 5 September 2014) the Human Rights Foundation issued a statement condemning the arbitrary arrests of two outstanding human rights defenders: Maryam al-Khawaja, co-director of the Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR), and Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, president of the Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained Persons (APRODH), and calls on the governments of Bahrain and Burundi to release them immediately.Al-Khawaja was detained last week by Bahraini authorities as she arrived to the island kingdom to visit her father, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, a political prisoner currently on hunger strike.see:  https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/human-rights-defender-maryam-al-khawaja-stopped-at-bahrain-airport-may-appear-in-court-tomorrow/Mbonimpa – 2007 Laureate of the MEA – was jailed in May as part of a pre-election crackdown after criticizing Burundi’s ruling party on a radio program. see: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/alert-mea-laureate-2007-pierre-claver-mbonimpa-arrested-in-b… […]


  3. […] Yesterday, 29 September 2014, human rights defender Pierre Claver Mbonimpa was conditionally released from prison on grounds of ill health in Burundi. [He was arrested on 16 Mat this year: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/alert-mea-laureate-2007-pierre-claver-mbonimpa-arrested-in-b…] […]


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