- Title: BURUNDI: Burundi journalists released from jail after court acquits them
- Date: 5th January 2007
- Summary: (AD1) BUJUMBURA, BURUNDI (JANUARY 4, 2007) (REUTERS) JOURNALISTS WALKING OUT OF JAIL PEOPLE WATCHING JOURNALISTS BEING GREETING RPA (RADIO PUBLIQUE AFRICAINE) JOURNALIST, DOMITILE KIRAMVU, WALKING OUT OF PRISON AND GREETING COLLEAGUES RADIO ISANGANIRO JOURNALIST, MATHIAS MANIRAKIZA, GREETING COLLEAGUES (SOUNDBITE) (Kirundi) SERGE NIBIZI, ACQUITTED JOURNALIST, SAYING: "I think we were locked up so that we can experience prison conditions and find ways of helping people in similar circumstances." CROWD OF JUBILANT PEOPLE GREETING THE JOURNALISTS AS THEY LEAVE THE PRISON. (SOUNDBITE) (Kirundi) DOMITILE KIRAMVU, ACQUITTED JOURNALIST, SAYING: "I didn't know that people loved us this much. When we got imprisoned we thought that nobody loved us but now there are few who do that. We have become popular with the young and old even the rich and poor. I am shocked." JOURNALISTS LEAVING IN VEHICLES
- Embargoed: 20th January 2007 12:00
- Location: Burundi
- Country: Burundi
- Topics: Legal System
- Reuters ID: LVAE5DGAJ96IUQXO252W3L3C9M6B
- Story Text: Three journalists were released from prison on Thursday (January 4) after a Burundi court acquitted them the day before. They were jailed last year for reporting on allegations of a coup plot in the tiny central African nation. A crowd gathered to meet the journalists as they walked out of the Mpimba prison in the country's capital Bujumbura.
Serge Nibizi and Domitile Kiramvu, both of African Public radio (RPA), were arrested in November, accused of violating legislation on secret information by reporting on a coup plot case while investigations were pending. Mathias Manirakiza, director of Radio Isanganiro was detained a week later, facing charges of allowing the station to broadcast information that would breach state security.
"I think we were locked up so that we can experience prison conditions and find ways of helping people in similar circumstances," Serge Nibizi told Reuters outside the prison.
His colleague Domitile Kiramvu is popular among radio fans here, some of who, came to witness his release.
"I didn't know that people loved us this much. When we got imprisoned we thought that nobody cared but now its clear that many do. We have become popular with the young and old even the rich and poor. I am shocked!" Kiramvu exclaimed.
All three, whose arrests were Burundi's latest legal tussle between media and authorities, had pleaded innocent.
In December, prosecutors had demanded a three-year jail term for the journalists.
President Pierre Nkurunziza's government, which came to power in 2005 under a peace plan to end more than a decade of civil war that killed 300,000 people, has come under increased pressure over its record on democracy and freedom of expression.
The suspected coup plotters, who include former President Domitien Ndayizeye, were arrested in August, accused of planning to kill Nkurunziza and seize power.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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