Arrest of journalist in Burundi raises concern about freedom of expression

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OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani. Photo: UN Multimedia

The arrest of a radio journalist in Burundi raises serious concern about freedom of expression in Burundi ahead of upcoming elections, the UN human rights office said on Friday.

Bob Rugurika, the director of the independent Radio Public Africaine (RPA) was arrested on 20 January following a broadcast of a report about the killing of three Italian nuns in the capital, Bujumbura.

Stephanie Castro reports.

The RPA broadcast reportedly included allegations about the involvement of senior intelligence officials in the killing of the three Italian nuns in September last year.

On Wednesday a Bujumbura court refused to hear a request by Bob Rugurika's lawyers for his provisional release.

Ravina Shamdasani, Spokesperson for the UN human rights office in Geneva, says the case against the Burundian journalist raises a number of serious issues.

"Rugurika's case raises serious concern about the exercise of the freedom of expression in Burundi, particularly ahead of the upcoming elections. We have previously urged the government to review the media law which requires journalists to reveal their sources when they report on issues such as state security and public order. The legislation leads all to easily to infringement on the freedom of expression." (23")

The UN human rights office has called on the authorities in Burundi to ensure that Rugurika's trial will be handled in line with international standards.

Stephanie Castro, United Nations.

Duration: 1’05″

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