The editor in chief of the Burundi weekly Arc-en-ciel, Thierry Ndayishimiye, has been arrested and jailed in Bujumbura. He is accused of defamation, less than a month after the arrest of another journalist.
"Thierry Ndayishimiye was summoned for the third time by a prosecutor today. He was immediately arrested and imprisoned in the Mpimba prison”, says his lawyer Gabriel Sinarinzi.
The arrest was confirmed by court and prison sources. “My client is being prosecuted for accusing the CEO of Regideso (the government water and electricity board). He covered up the irregularities which have caused the disappearance of nearly 110.000 USD", says Sinarinzi.
"This is an arbitrary detention because my client had already proved that he did not intend to avoid justice and had documents showing that there were irregularities in this case", accused the defence lawyer.
"What is happening now shows clearly that the powerful people are hunting down journalists, to scare the Burundi press. Which is known for its courage and determination in rooting out corruption", insists Sinarinzi.
Not the first journalist
The director of the Netpress website, Jean-Claude Kavumbagu, was arrested on 17 July. He was charged with "betrayal" for questioning the integrity of the country's security forces. He wondered if they were capable of preventing an attack like the one of the Islamists in Uganda on 11 July, which killed 76 people in Kampala.
If convicted, the journalists face life imprisonment.
On Monday, the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Association of Journalists in East Africa (EAJA) expressed “their deep concern" about “the campaign of the Burundian government against the media".