June 3, 2009

VII. Government Repression of Democratic Political Opposition

Competition between the ruling CNDD-FDD and the opposition FNL is only one context of human rights abuse in Burundi. CNDD-FDD officials have also perpetrated human rights violations against democratic political opponents. These have taken a variety of forms ranging from attempts to restrict political freedom, an act of dubious constitutionality barring opponents from parliament, and attacks on opposition politicians. High-profile opposition figures and members of a dissident wing of the CNDD-FDD were arrested in late 2006 and early 2007. State agents or CNDD-FDD démobilisés were behind the killing of at least three FRODEBU members killed in early 2009. The government expelled a group of opposition parliamentarians in June 2008, and at the same time, began carrying out mass arrests of opposition party members, most of them local party representatives in rural communes.

Other incidents could not be definitely traced to government or CNDD-FDD officials, but appeared intended to have a chilling effect on the political opposition. For example, unidentified assailants threw grenades at opposition parliamentarians’ homes in August 2007 and March 2008, and FRODEBU members were killed by unidentified assailants in February 2008 and January 2009.

Abuse of the Judicial System against Opponents

The abuses documented between 2007 and 2009 followed two high-profile cases in which the government attempted to use the judicial system to silence opponents. While these events took place several years ago, they were a significant prequel to more recent arrests, indicating a dangerous readiness to resort to abusive practices for political ends.

In August 2006 officials arrested former President Domitien Ndayizeye, a prominent member of FRODEBU, former Vice-President Alphonse-Marie Kadege of UPRONA, and five other opposition figures and charged them with plotting a coup. Intelligence agents tortured Kadege in an effort to obtain a confession. But in January 2007 he, Ndayizeye, and three others were acquitted by the Supreme Court. Kadege then fled the country. The court convicted two other men, Alain Mugabarabona and Tharcisse Ndayishimiye, ignoring their claim that they had been coerced into making the confessions that constituted the strongest evidence against them. Three of the acquitted filed claims of torture against state agents. Despite the existence of a video showing the torture, no one was charged.[174]

In the second prominent case, a power struggle within CNDD-FDD came to a head in early 2007 when supporters of President Nkurunziza moved to strengthen their control within the party by removing CNDD-FDD president Hussein Radjabu from his post. Police arrested Radjabu and a group of his supporters in April 2007, charging them of “threatening state security.” At his trial before the Supreme Court, one of the accused, Evariste Kagabo, testified that he was tortured by intelligence agents and police. He described the torture in these terms at an appeals hearing:

They ordered the police to rub five small sticks between my fingers, I still have scars [from where skin was removed]. Then they ordered the police to bring a 5-liter bucket [of water]. They tied it to my intimate parts and told me to stand up. It was very painful; I cried out. They told police to bring a rope. They put it in my mouth and pulled to shut me up. Then they put a cord around my throat and pulled until I lost consciousness.[175]

In April 2008 Radjabu, Kagabo, and five others were found guilty. Radjabu, Kagabo, and a third defendant were each sentenced to 13 years, and four others to 10 years imprisonment, while one was acquitted.[176] The proceedings failed to meet international fair trial standards; judges refusing to hear witnesses the defense believed essential for establishing the facts and accepted into evidence Kagabo’s confession obtained through torture.[177]

Although then-chief of staff of the SNR Gervais Ndirakobuca acknowledged to a Human Rights Watch researcher that SNR agents tortured Kagabo, no-one has yet been brought to justice.[178]

Grenade Attacks on Parliamentary Opposition Members

The crackdown on those who opposed CNDD-FDD’s policies, including supporters of Radjabu who left the party after his arrest, took a more violent turn in mid-2007. On several occasions, parliamentarians and other politicians who demonstrated open opposition to the ruling party were then targeted by acts of violence.

In August 2007 69 parliamentarians, from both the opposition and the ruling party, wrote to President Nkurunziza, asking him to meet with the opposition to discuss disputes over the allocation of government posts. The President did not respond to the request. On August 19 the homes of five of the signatories were subjected to nearly simultaneous grenade attacks that killed one bystander.[179] The police formed a special commission of judicial police officers to investigate the attacks, and in an unusual nod to civil society, included a representative of the human rights organization Ligue Iteka. However, the commission never carried out serious investigations and abandoned its work after its president moved on to another post.[180]

In December 2007 a former SNR agent known as “Bienvenu” confessed in a videotaped interview with a human rights organization to having participated in the August attacks.[181]  He claimed the SNR had orchestrated the attacks to frighten the opposition into ending the political deadlock.[182] Bienvenu, who was interviewed shortly after he had survived an attempt on his own life by his own agency, apparently fled Burundi after recording the interview. His statement led to no new investigations, and no one was ever prosecuted for the attacks.[183]

The factional struggle within CNDD-FDD in 2007 caused a number of members to leave the party. Then, in January 2008, the party expelled Alice Nzomukunda, first vice president of the National Assembly, who had been outspoken in her criticism of certain party policies. In response, several opposition parties boycotted parliament.

In late February 2008 46 parliamentarians wrote to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon accusing the ruling party of “persecution, arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial executions, and assassination” of its opponents.[184] Then, on March 8, grenades were thrown at the homes of Alice Nzomukunda and three other prominent opposition politicians, Pasteur Mpawenayo, Mathias Basabose, and Zaituni Radjabu, who had abandoned the CNDD-FDD in 2007 and become outspoken critics. The former residence of Leonard Nyangoma, president of the opposition party CNDD, was also targeted.[185] All of them had signed the letter.[186]

The government denied any involvement in the attacks,[187] and police quickly arrested three young men, at least two of whom were or had been JPH members. They were detained beyond the 14-day legal limit for pre-charge detention and were handcuffed for several days and nights.[188] One detainee, SH, said he was beaten with an iron cable and forced to walk on his knees until they bled.[189] A police officer denied these claims but said he had forced the man to squat throughout the interrogation.[190] Family members who brought the young men food were held and interrogated for eight hours.[191] In October the three men were provisionally released due to lack of evidence.[192] Another suspect, also a JPH member, was arrested in late November and was in pre-trial detention at the time of this writing.[193] 

Other Attacks and Threats against Political Opponents

This was not the only violence or intimidation against political opponents of the ruling CNDD-FDD. In February 2008 Juma Hakizimana, a FRODEBU member, was arrested by GMIR police as he left FRODEBU’s headquarters in Bujumbura. He was taken to a GMIR camp in the Buyenzi neighborhood of Bujumbura, where he was beaten for three hours and interrogated about party activities before being freed.[194]

Other incidents could not clearly be linked to state agents or CNDD-FDD members, though victims themselves as well as third parties often suspected them. During the political paralysis that characterized the first months of 2008, a grenade attack on February 3 killed Jean Berchmas Nurwaha, a Kanyosha communal council member and FRODEBU member. The killers were never identified, though a local official, a CNDD-FDD member, said he himself believed they were démobilisés from CNDD-FDD.[195]

At least three FRODEBU members and an MSD member in Bujumbura received death threats in February and early March, causing some to flee their homes. The MSD member, OB, said he traced a death threat received by text message to a local CNDD-FDD activist. [196]

In January 2009 FRODEBU began a campaign to recruit demobilized FDD combatants into their party. Days after a mass recruitment ceremony in Kamenge commune, on January 26, one of the new recruits, a démobilisé named Frédéric Misago who had previously worked for the SNR, was shot dead by two unidentified young men outside his home.[197] On February 19 two other démobilisés who had recently left CNDD-FDD to join FRODEBU were killed in Kinama.[198] A journalist told Human Rights Watch he had information that other démobilisés still loyal to CNDD-FDD were involved.[199] No one has been arrested in any of these killings.

On April 2, 2009, Emmanuel Minyurano, a chef de quartier (local administrative official) in Kamenge, was shot and killed while walking home from a neighborhood bar. Witnesses in Kamenge, including MB, a witness detained for questioning, identified the perpetrator as an SNR agent. Police were aware of the suspected perpetrator’s identity, but he had not yet been arrested as of this writing.[200]

Expulsion of Opposition Parliamentarians

In June 2008 after parliament had been paralyzed for nearly a year due to regular boycotts by opposition members protesting the allocation of government and parliamentary posts, the CNDD-FDD sought to regain control by excluding from Parliament 22 assembly members who had been elected when they had been CNDD-FDD members, but who had since left the party. Most of them were close to former party leader Hussein Radjabu. In a decision much criticized by jurists, politicians, members of civil society, and the Geneva-based Inter-Parliamentary Union as unconstitutional, the Constitutional Court permitted the exclusion.

Furthermore, the assembly president, a CNDD-FDD loyalist, allowed parliamentarians who had left opposition parties to ally with CNDD-FDD to retain their seats, and refused to submit their similar case to the court. CNDD-FDD spokesperson Onésime Nduwimana acknowledged in an interview with Human Rights Watch that the move was “political” and may have involved “manipulation” of the Court.[201]  While parliament was again able to function, the move further embittered the political atmosphere.[202]

Mass Arrests of Political Opponents

Between June and April 2009, police and local authorities in several parts of the country arrested at least 120 individuals associated with opposition parties and claimed they had committed a variety of offences, including “threatening state security”; participating in illegal meetings[203]; insulting the President; and insulting a magistrate.[204] Hitherto such arrests had usually been limited to party officials working at the national level in Bujumbura.[205] Members of UPD-Zigamibanga[206], MSD, and FRODEBU were among those arrested, as well as former CNDD-FDD members affiliated with the faction of Hussein Radjabu. At times, police who carried out the arrests appeared to be following orders coming from politicians rather from within their formal chain of command.[207] Communal administrators and governors also used the police to carry out politically-motivated arrests; while such officials can legally call on judicial police officers to arrest suspects, proper procedure was frequently bypassed.[208] Such politically-motivated arrests violate the freedom of association, guaranteed by the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.[209]

Some of those arrested were held for weeks or months on political charges. For example, in Kayanza province, Anaias Havyarimana and Honoré Misago, both UPD members and teachers accused of insulting the President after they were overheard criticizing his education policy in a private conversation, were remanded in custody after their arrest in September 2008 until their acquittal in December.[210]

Others were held without charge and released after several days. For example, Apollinaire Nyandwi was arrested in Ngozi province in October because he was in possession of a UPD brochure. Vincent Niyondiku, a 74-year-old man, was arrested in Karusi province in November because he had agreed to let FRODEBU plant a party flag on his property.[211] 

Police and local government officials also shut down meetings and press conferences held by opposition parties throughout 2008, without specific reasons to do so, again in violation of the right to freedom of association.[212] In Kayanza province, the administrator of Matongo commune wrote to FRODEBU stating, “[the Governor] has informed us that all FRODEBU meetings of any nature are forbidden,” with no further explanation.[213] Other parties, including UPRONA, CNDD-Nyangoma, and the Democratic Alliance for Renewal (ADR), faced similar prohibitions.[214]

When opposition parties complained about discriminatory treatment, the then-Minister of Interior, Venant Kamana, responded with further restrictions. On October 6, 2008, he signed an ordinance that required all political parties to ask permission to hold meetings and gave local officials the power to prohibit them. The ordinance also stated that local administrative officials—most of whom belong to CNDD-FDD—could attend the meetings or send police to “ensure the security of people and goods as well as good morals.”[215]

Even when parties complied with the new ordinance, they faced repression. On October 8, 2008, the ADR organized a press conference in Bujumbura, with authorization from the city government. Nevertheless, it was closed down by the police. Party activists contacted Minister Kamana by mobile phone to urge him to explain to the police that they had authorization. Kamana agreed, but police refused to take the call. They told ADR they were acting on “other orders.”[216] 

In mid-November, Kamana held a meeting with political parties to hear their complaints, which they had raised in letters to him and aired through the media. He subsequently revoked the ordinance requiring parties to request authorization to hold meetings, reverting to the previous system under which parties are required to inform local authorities.[217] A representative of CNDD-Nyangoma told Human Rights Watch that harassment decreased after this change.[218] However, in January 2009, Kamana was removed from his post and replaced by Edouard Nduwimana, the former Governor of Kayanza, who has previously been cited by several political parties for taking repressive measures against them.[219] Reports of opposition party meetings being shut down illegally and of the arbitrary arrest of party activists have continued.[220]

Arrest of MSD President Alexis Sinduhije

On November 3, 2008, police arrested Alexis Sinduhije, the founder of the opposition Movement for Solidarity and Democracy (MSD) (formerly “Movement for Security and Democracy”), and 37 others during a raid on the party’s headquarters, accusing them of “threatening state security.” The police search of the premises was illegal because the search warrant was for a different place altogether and referred to a judicial file that did not yet exist.[221] Sinduhije was an internationally-known journalist before he established the MSD and announced his intention to run for the presidency. Since December 2007 his efforts to register the MSD as a political party had been refused on various counts (for example, that the proposed party name could not include the word “security,” as security was the exclusive domain of the state).[222] 

The 37 people detained with Sinduhije were all released by November 10 without charge. For several days Sinduhije was denied visits by his lawyers, family members, human rights observers, and foreign diplomats closely following the case.[223] Unable to find evidence that Sinduhije had threatened state security, on November 11 prosecutors charged him with “insulting the President,” a crime in Burundian law. In a November 28 hearing, the Prosecutor explained that the charge was based on a document in Sinduhije’s possession which stated: “the responsibility for the corruption scandals and the assassinations ordered by the party CNDD-FDD lie with the man who passes his time in prayer meetings.” The Prosecutor said the phrase referred to and insulted President Nkurunziza, a born-again Christian.[224] On February 19, 2009, Sinduhije’s trial opened and he was acquitted on March 12. As of late April, however, the Minister of the Interior continued to refuse to register MSD as a political party.

Sinduhije’s case generated considerable international concern.[225] The fact that he and many of his MSD members, like many members of UPD-Zigamibanga, were one-time supporters of CNDD-FDD led to concern that the arrests were a form of political vengeance, and a warning to the party faithful about what might happen to defectors. According to one observer from the diplomatic community, the ruling party’s message underlying the arrests of MSD and UPD members was: “No traitors.”[226]

[174]Video in the possession of Human Rights Watch.

[175]Kagabo testified that former SNR chief of staff Jean Bosco Ngendanganya and Bertin Gahungu, a high-ranking police officer, ordered police officers to torture him. He testified that the following day, under interrogation, he made a false confession. A Human Rights Watch researcher and a Burundian human rights organization visited him in prison shortly afterward and documented scars. Human Rights Watch interviews with Evariste Kagabo, Bujumbura, May 2007, and with APRODH President Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, Bujumbura, January 8, 2009; testimony by Evariste Kagabo, Court of Appeals, Bujumbura, February 9, 2009.

[176]Cour suprême, Arrêt du cas RPS 66, 3 avril 2008, pp. 46-48. French translation by APRODH of the original court verdict in Kirundi, transmitted to Human Rights Watch by email on April 7, 2008.

[177]Cour suprême, Arrêt du cas RPS 66, 3 avril 2008, pp. 46-48; Human Rights Watch interview with Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, Bujumbura, January 8, 2009.

[178] Human Rights Watch interview with then-SNR Chief of Staff Gervais Ndirakobuca, Bujumbura, June 28, 2007. Jean Bosco Ngendanganya was removed from his post and charges of assault prepared against him, but the case has not been pursued. Bertin Gahungu was transferred to a different but equally prominent post within the police.

[179] “Anger at Burundi grenade attacks,” BBC News, August 20, 2008, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6955764.stm (accessed November 30, 2008).

[180]Human Rights Watch telephone interview with representative of Ligue Iteka, March 11, 2008.

[181]Bienvenu was one of two survivors of an attack in which the SNR allegedly killed two of its own agents and a driver in December 2007. He and the other survivor, Major Jean-Bosco Nsabimana, known as “Maregarege,” told friends before fleeing the country that they believe the attack occurred because they “knew too much” about crimes allegedly perpetrated by the SNR, and provided videotaped interviews to the press and a human rights organization. Human Rights Watch interviews with a judicial police officer, Bujumbura, January 2007, and a former CNDD-FDD political activist, Bujumbura, January 2008; videotaped statement by “Bienvenu,” filmed by a Burundian human rights organization in December 2007 (on file with Human Rights Watch).

[182]Videotaped statement by “Bienvenu.”

[183]One CNDD-FDD member also told Human Rights Watch that members of his party were responsible for the attacks. Human Rights Watch interview, Bujumbura, January 2009. However, some CNDD-FDD sympathizers accused the parliamentarians of themselves orchestrating the grenade attacks. One article on a pro-CNDD-FDD website cites purported information to this effect from police and judicial authorities, but fails to explain why no efforts were made to lift the parliamentarians’ immunity and prosecute them. Kapoli Xavier, “A qui profite le chaos engendré par les grenades à Bujumbura?,” Burundi Information, March 13, 2008, http://www.burundi-info.com/spip.php?article617&lang=fr (accessed January 18, 2009).

[184]Letter from 46 members of the Burundian parliament to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, February 22, 2008.

[185]Human Rights Watch interviews with victims, witnesses, and police officials, Bujumbura and by telephone, March 9, 10, and 11, 2008; Arib News, “Attaques contre parlementaires: l’ancienne residence de NYANGOMA visée,” March 10, 2008.

[186]Human Rights Watch, “Burundi: Investigate Attacks on Opposition,” March 12, 2008, http://hrw.org/english/docs/2008/03/12/burund18269.htm.

[187]“Communiqué du gouvernement sur les attaque à la grenade contre les parlementaires,” Hafsa Mossi, Minister of Information, Communications, Relations with Parliament, and Spokesperson of the Government of Burundi, March 10, 2008.

[188] Human Rights Watch interview with detainees, Bujumbura, April 3, 2008.

[189]Human Rights Watch interview with SH, Bujumbura, April 3, 2008.

[190]Human Rights Watch interview with judicial police officer Prosper Ntirampeba, Bujumbura, April 16, 2008.

[191]Human Rights Watch interviews with detainees’ family members and judicial police officers Prosper Ntirampeba and Méthode Hicuburundi, Bujumbura, March 13 and 14, 2008.

[192]Human Rights Watch interview with Jean Bosco Nduwimana, the defendants’ lawyer, Muyinga, October 15, 2008.

[193] Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Jean Bosco Nduwimana, April 2009.

[194] A police officer working at the camp confirmed that the victim had been arrested and taken to the camp, although he did not observe the beating. Human Rights Watch interview with Juma Hakizimana, Bujumbura, March 3, 2008, and with PNB officer, by telephone, March 2008.

[195]Human Rights Watch interview with local administrative official, Kanyosha, February 14, 2008.

[196] Human Rights Watch interviews with local administrative official and FRODEBU member, Bujumbura, February 14, 2008, and with OB, Bujumbura, March 13, 2008; Ligue Iteka, Rapport semestriel sur la liberté d’expression au Burundi, Premier Semestre 2008, Bujumbura, October 2008.

[197] Human Rights Watch interviews with witnesses, Bujumbura, February 6, 2009; Dieudonné Hakizimana, Christian Bigirimana, and Léandre Sikuyavuga, “Un démobilisé déjà assassiné,” Iwacu, no. 17, February 6, 2009, p. 4.

[198]Organisation des Médias d’Afrique Centrale, “Actualité burundaise du 20 Février 2009,” electronic bulletin received by Human Rights Watch February 21, 2009.

[199] Human Rights Watch interview with Burundian journalist, Bujumbura, April 2009.

[200] Human Rights Watch interviews with MB, Bujumbura, April 8, 2009, and with family member of Emmanuel Minyurano, BINUB official and judicial police officer, April 16, 2009.

[201]Human Rights Watch interview with CNDD-FDD spokesperson Onésime Nduwimana, Bujumbura, September 15, 2008. Asked why the 22 deputies were removed, Nduwimana explained that CNDD-FDD considered a number of options to end deadlock in Parliament. One option considered was to attempt to remove all opposition parliamentarians who had excessive absences due to boycotts. The party determined this would provoke too much protest; they calculated it would be more politically savvy to remove the “Radjabistes,” Nduwimana explained, “It was a political decision – to put things in order. To get rid of the people who had excessive absences, we would not have needed to manipulate the court. It was a political decision not to get rid of those people.”

[202]See Human Rights Watch, “Burundi: Constitutional Court Decision Unseats 22 Lawmakers,” June 17, 2008, http://hrw.org/english/docs/2008/06/17/burund19144.htm; Stef Vandeginste, “Pouvoir et droit au Burundi: un commentaire sur l'arrêt du 5 juin 2008 de la Cour Constitutionnelle dans l'affaire RCCB 213,” Anvers, June 17, 2008, available at http://www.ua.ac.be/main.aspx?c=stef.vandeginste&n=6122 (accessed November 9, 2008); International Crisis Group, Burundi: renouer la dialogue politique; United Nations Human Rights Council, “Rapport de l’expert indépendant chargé d’examiner la situation des droits de l’homme au Burundi, Akich Okola,” A/HRC/9/14, August 15, 2008; Union Interparlementaire, Résolution adoptée à l’unanimité par le Conseil directeur de l'UIP à sa 183ème session (Genève, 15 octobre 2008).

[203]A Ministerial Ordinance in effect from October through November 2008, discussed below, required political parties to request authorization from local authorities to hold meetings.

[204]Human Rights Watch interview with FRODEBU spokesperson Pancrace Cimpaye, Bujumbura, July 15, 2008 and by telephone, November 7, 2008; with UPD-Zigamibanga activists, Ngozi, October 24, 2008, and Makamba, December 16, 2008; with UPD president Zedi Feruzi, Bujumbura, November 6, 2008; with Pasteur Mpawenayo, Gérard Nkurunziza, Hussein Radjabu and Alexis Sinduhije, Bujumbura, November 21, 2008; and with detainees in Bubanza, January 15, 2008; UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, “Situation des Droits de l’Homme et de la Justice au Burundi: Rapport Mensuel de Novembre 2008.”

[205]Similar arrests occurred, albeit with less frequency, in the first half of 2008. Politically-motivated arrests in the first half of 2008 are well-documented in Ligue Iteka, Rapport semestriel sur la liberté d’expression au Burundi, Premier Semestre 2008.

[206]UPD-Zigamibanga, a party formed in 2000, has in recent months welcomed into its ranks a number of former CNDD-FDD members, including followers of the imprisoned former party leader Hussein Radjabu.

[207]Human Rights Watch has documented informal channels of command within the police, which often result in police who are former FDD combatants taking orders from CNDD-FDD politicians, rather than their direct superiors. Human Rights Watch, Every Morning They Beat Me: Police Abuses in Burundi, 2008.

[208] Loi No. 1/016 du 20 avril 2005 portant organisation de l’administration communale, art. 26 ; and Human Rights Watch interviews with former Minister of Interior Venant Kamana, by telephone, and police spokesperson Pierre Channel Ntarabaganyi, Bujumbura, February 11, 2009)

[209]African (Banjul) Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, adopted June 27, 1981, OAU Doc. CAB/LEG/67/3 rev. 5, 21 I.L.M. 58 (1982), entered into force Oct. 21, 1986, ratified by Burundi July 28, 1989, art. 10-11; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), G.A. res. 2200A (XXI), 999 U.N.T.S. 171, entered into force March 23, 1976, ratified by Burundi on May 9, 1990, art. 22.

[210]Human Rights Watch interview with a UPD-Zigamibanga activist, Ngozi, October 24, 2008.

[211]Human Rights Watch interviews with Zedi Feruzi, Bujumbura, November 6, 2008, and Pancrace Cimpaye, by telephone, November 7, 2008.

[212]Loi No. 1/006 du 26 juin 2003 portant organisation et fonctionnement des partis politiques ; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), art. 22.

[213]Letter from Matongo Communal Administrator Epimaque Manirakiza to the President of Sahwanya-FRODEBU (Matongo Section), March 9, 2008, in possession of Human Rights Watch.

[214]Human Rights Watch interview with ADR president Alice Nzomukunda, Bujumbura, November 7, 2008; Ligue Iteka, Rapport semestriel sur la liberté d’expression au Burundi, Premier Semestre 2008.

[215]Republic of Burundi, Ministry of Interior and Communal Development, Ordonnance Ministérielle No. 530 du 6/10/2008 portant réglementation des réunions et manifestations des parties politiques et autres associations au Burundi,” art. 1, 2, 4.

[216]Human Rights Watch interview with Alice Nzomukunda and Mathias Basabose, Bujumbura, November 7, 2008.

[217]Human Rights Watch interview with then Minister of the Interior Venant Kamana, January 17, 2009; Ordonnance Ministerielle n°530/1208 du 18 novembre 2008.

[218]Human Rights Watch interview with CNDD Secretary General Willian Munyembabazi, Bujumbura, January 12, 2009.

[219]Comment by CNDD spokesperson François Bizimana, round-table debate organized by Radio Isanganiro, Bujumbura, March 25, 2008; Human Rights Watch telephone interview with UPD representative, December 20, 2008; letter from Matongo Communal Administrator Epimaque Manirakiza to the President of Sahwanya-FRODEBU (Matongo Section), March 9, 2008, in possession of Human Rights Watch.

[220] See Annex 2 on arbitrary arrests. A BINUB human rights official stated in a meeting with representatives of the diplomatic community on April 29, 2009, attended by a Human Rights Watch researcher, that he received reports of meetings being shut down “almost every day.”

[221]Human Rights Watch inspection of search warrant on premises, Bujumbura, November 3, 2008.

[222] Human Rights Watch interview with Alexis Sinduhije, Bujumbura, June 18, 2008, and with then-Minister of Interior Venant Kamana, Bujumbura, January 17, 2009.

[223]Human Rights Watch interviews with Sinduhije, Bujumbura, November 9, 2008; telephone interviews with Sinduhije’s lawyer Prosper Niyoyankana and a KW, Bujumbura-based diplomat, November 9, 2008; electronic correspondence from CD, a Bujumbura-based diplomat, to Human Rights Watch, November 10, 2008.

[224]“Burundi: des centaines de sympathisants au procès d'un journaliste,” Agence France Presse, November 28, 2008.

[225]Numerous embassies issued statements condemning Sinduhije’s detention, and high-profile European diplomats, including French Minister of Human Rights Rama Yade and European Union Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aide Louis Michel, raised the case with Burundian officials. U.S. Department of State, “Statement by the U.S. Embassy in Burundi: Arrest of  Prominent Burundian Journalist, Alexis Sinduhije,” Bujumbura, November 7, 2008; FCO Spokesperson, “Press Release From the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office on November 7, 2008”; “Déclaration de l’Union Européenne,” Bujumbura, November 7, 2008; Human Rights Watch interviews with diplomats, March 2009.

[226]Human Rights Watch interview with ZE, a senior diplomat, Bujumbura, November 2008; Léandre Sikuyavga, “L’emprisonnement d’Alexis Sinduhije. Peur ou vengeance du CNDD-FDD?,” Iwacu, November 30, 2008, at http://www.iwacu-burundi.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=332&Itemid=412 (accessed January 18, 2009).