August 4, 2006

The government of Burundi must immediately halt any acts of torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment of people who are currently detained and accused of preparing a coup d’etat, said several human rights organizations in Burundi. The government must begin credible investigations and prosecute those responsible.

Beginning on July 31, the National Intelligence Service (Service National de Renseignements, SNR) has been carrying out arrests of current and former politicians and members of the elite who are accused, according to the government, of “preparing to take over the democratically elected institutions.”

The president of the FNL Incanzo party, Alain Mugabarabona, and three other people, including Lieutenant Prudence Manirakiza, were arrested the evening of July 31. On August 1, Alphonse Marie Kadege (the ex vice-president of Burundi), Déo Niyonzima (President of the Parti pour la Réconciliation du Peuple), Col. Damien Ndarisigaranye and Popon Mudugu (members of AC Génocide Cirimoso) were arrested, though Ndarisigaranye and Mudugu were released the following day. On August 3, Isidore Rufyikiri (lawyer for Alphonse-Marie Kadege and Déo Niyonzima) was also apprehended.

The Burundian League of Human Rights (Ligue Iteka), members of the families of those detained and the minister in charge of human rights confirmed that Kadege, Niyonzima and Ndarisigaranye had been tortured. According to information gathered at the scene, Kadege was suspended by his hands and feet and beaten with a leather belt by agents of the SNR and Niyonzima had been beaten with a baton on the lower back and arm during interrogations. Ndarisigaranye was beaten on his back.

The detainees have not had visits from their lawyers or medical doctors to treat their wounds. The treatment of these detained people constitutes torture as defined in the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in Resolution 39/46 from December 10, 1985, and ratified by Burundi in December 1992.

The signatories of this declaration recommend:

To the government of Burundi:

• Immediately cease torture, and cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment;
• Condemn any acts of torture committed in Burundi;
• Begin carrying out credible investigations to identify those responsible and bring them to justice;
• Authorize visits by family members, lawyers, human rights organizations, and medical doctors to those detained in the SNR;
• Respect national law and international human rights law.

To the diplomatic community:

• Condemn publicly all acts of torture committed in Burundi and insist that all confessions gathered under torture or threats of torture are void;
• Urge the government to begin credible investigations to bring those responsible for torture to justice;
• Urge the government to authorize access to the detained by members of their families, their lawyers, human rights organizations and doctors.

Bujumbura, Burundi
August 4, 2006

Signatories:

Ligue Iteka
Observatoire de l’Action Gouvernementale (OAG)
Action des Chrétiens pour l’Abolition de la Torture (ACAT)
Association pour la Protection des Droits Humains et des Détenus (APRODH)
Forum pour le Renforcement de la Société Civile ( FORSC)
Ligue de Droits de la personne dans la région des Grands Lacs (LDGL-Antenne Burundi)
Organisation de Lutte contre la Corruption et les Malversations Economiques (OLUCOME) ;
Office du Haut Commissaire aux Droits de l’Homme au Burundi
Human Rights Watch
Avocats sans Frontières (ASF)