• Restrictions on freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of assembly increased, with elections scheduled for 2015. The government persistently harassed and blocked the activities of members of opposition parties, civil society activists, and journalists. In May, a leading human rights activist, 66-year-old Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, was arrested and charged with endangering state security and using false documents. Court judges rejected requests for his provisional release, even after he became seriously ill. On September 29, 2014, a court in Burundi granted him provisional release on medical grounds. In March, 70 people, the majority members of the opposition party Movement for Solidarity and Democracy (MSD) were tried in a blatantly unfair trial; 21 were sentenced to life imprisonment. The justice system suffered from political interference and allegations of corruption. Impunity for human rights abuses, particularly by state agents and youth of the ruling party, was a dominant concern. Most cases of extrajudicial killings and other acts of political violence between 2010 and 2012 remained unresolved. 

  • Burundian policemen and protesters near a parliament building in the capital, Bujumbura on May 13, 2015.
    Burundian police have used excessive force in a crackdown on protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s election bid for a third term.