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International News

Breaking: ALM African Persons of the Year ceremony now holds 15 March 2024

Breaking: ALM African Persons of the Year  ceremony now holds 15 March 2024

The African Leadership Organisation (UK) announces the rescheduling of the highly-anticipated African Persons of the Year Ceremony, which was originally slated for February 22-23, 2024. The event will now take...

Tanzania calls for protection of Indian Ocean beaches from pollution

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DAR ES SALAAM, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian authorities on Monday called for efforts to protect Tanzania's beaches along the Indian Ocean from pollution. "The beaches are often littered with...

Could the US and other states be implicated in South Africa’s genocide case against Israel?

Could the US and other states be implicated in South Africa’s genocide case against Israel?

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UNMISS condemns attack on humanitarian convoy near Bor, Jonglei

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Tanzania develops 5-year strategy for protection of persons with albinism

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Sugar price cap brews a storm in Tanzania

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Editor's Choice

Wavinya Ndeti urges Senators to shoot down proposed Housing Levy Tax

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Machakos Governor, Wavinya Ndeti, has urged Senators to shoot down the proposed Housing Levy tax when it comes before the Upper House. Addressing mourners at the burial of the late...

AU Panel pledges inclusive approach for peace in Sudan

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The newly established AU High-Level Panel on Sudan declared its commitment to achieving sustainable peace in the conflict-torn nation, emphasizing inclusivity and adherence to the AU Roadmap for the Resolution...

Pastor organising Benny Hinn crusade at Nyayo Stadium striped naked & robbed cash

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Pastors praying for the Nyayo Stadium ahead of the Benny Hinn crusade set for Saturday, February 24, 2024. PHOTO FILE Copied to clipboard Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) officers have...

South Sudan sends third batch of teachers to China for training

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JUBA, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- South Sudan said Friday it would send the third batch of teachers and school managers to China for training under the second phase of the...

African Union rejects Israeli participation

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Senegal’s president says he will step down on April 2

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Macky Sall says consultations for organization of election of his successor will begin on Monday. Senegal’s president announced Thursday that his mandate as president will end on April 2 and...

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Technology

24
Jan2021
Microsoft admits it "messed up" and cancels planned Xbox Live Gold price hike

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Feb2021
Tech CEOs including Google's Sundar, Salesforce's Marc Benioff, Microsoft's Satya Nadella congratulate outgoing Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his successor, Andy Jassy

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Feb2021
Kenyan Woman’s Startup Recycles Plastic Waste into Bricks That Are 5x Stronger Than Concrete

Kenyan Woman’s Start...

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22
Feb2021
Nigeria’s ‘Techpreneurs’ Are Using Technology To Provide Life-Changing Solutions To Everyday Problems

Nigeria’s ‘Techprene...

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Travel

24
Jan2021
New findings of early man at tourist site Olduvai Gorge

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An international team of archaeologists and paleoanthropologists has discovered a large collection of two million years old stone tools, fossilized bones, and plant materials at the Olduvai Gorge in northern Tanzania. N...

29
Jan2021
UK travel ban extended to United Arab Emirates, Burundi and Rwanda

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Mar2021
South Sudan suspends airline after plane crash

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Mar2021
Kenya's SGR night train unites families as it gains popularity with travelers

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Health

20
Feb2024
Tanzania calls for protection of Indian Ocean beaches from pollution

Tanzania calls for protection...

DAR ES SALAAM, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian authorities on Monday called for efforts to protect Tanzania's beaches along the Indian Ocean from pollution. "The beaches are often littered with ga...

07
Feb2024
Tanzania develops 5-year strategy for protection of persons with albinism

Tanzania develops 5-year strat...

DODOMA, Tanzania, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian authorities said on Tuesday they have developed a five-year strategy aimed at protecting and improving the welfare of persons with albinism. The de...

17
Jan2024
Kenyan scientists unveil drug to reduce malaria among HIV-positive pregnant women

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Jan2024
Tanzania makes u-turn on reduced NHIF rates after private sector protests

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(Nairobi, August 10, 2021) – Burundian authorities should immediately and unconditionally release lawyer, Tony Germain Nkina, who was sentenced to five years in prison in June 2021 in all likelihood because of his past human rights work, six international human rights groups said today.

The groups – Amnesty International, the Burundi Human Rights Initiative, DefendDefenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project), Human Rights Watch, Protection International and TRIAL International – believe that the likely reason for Nkina’s arrest was his former affiliation with the Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained Persons (Association pour la protection des droits humains et des personnes détenues, APRODH), which was one of the leading human rights groups in Burundi until 2015.

The prosecution and imprisonment of Tony Germain Nkina is a worrying reminder that those who used to be part of Burundi’s once vibrant human rights movement are still at risk. The Burundian authorities should demonstrate their commitment to protecting human rights by immediately releasing Nkina and dropping all the charges against him. Burundi’s international partners should support the calls for his release.

Nkina, a lawyer in Kayanza province in northern Burundi, was arrested on October 13, 2020, in Kabarore commune, where he was visiting a client for his professional work. He was briefly detained by the intelligence service in Kayanza, then transferred to police detention, and finally to Ngozi prison, where he is currently detained.

October 2020 was a tense period in Kayanza following attacks by an armed group in the previous weeks, with several people killed or abducted. Nkina happened to visit Kabarore, one of the areas affected, soon after these attacks. The authorities accused him of collaborating with the armed opposition group RED-Tabara (Resistance for the Rule of Law in Burundi), which they hold responsible for the attacks, and charged him with endangering internal state security.

On June 15, 2021, the court of Kayanza convicted Nkina of “collaboration with rebels who attacked Burundi,” and sentenced him to five years in prison and a fine of one million Burundian francs (approximately US$ 500). His client, Apollinaire Hitimana, whom he had been advising on a land dispute and was arrested with him, was found guilty of complicity in the same offence and sentenced to two and a half years and a fine of 500,000 Burundian francs. An appeal hearing is scheduled for August 12, at the Ngozi court of appeal.

Nkina was APRODH’s representative in Kayanza until the government suspended the organization in 2015 as part of a larger crackdown on civil society over opposition to President Pierre Nkurunziza running for a controversial third term. He has not worked for APRODH or any other Burundian civil society organization for the past six years. He is a well-known lawyer in Kayanza and a member of the Gitega bar. However, authorities in Kayanza may still associate him with APRODH, especially as he was riding his former APRODH motorcycle on the day of his arrest.

The prosecution accused him, among other things, of travelling to Rwanda to give information to APRODH’s president, Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, who lives in Europe, as well as to RED-Tabara. The prosecution has not presented any evidence to substantiate these allegations.

Nkina is the only known former staff member of a human rights organization imprisoned in Burundi at the present time. Two other human rights defenders were released earlier in 2021.

For further details about the government repression of human rights activists, please see below.

Background

APRODH was one of Burundi’s most active and best-known human rights organizations. Mbonimpa narrowly escaped an assassination attempt in 2015 with life-threatening injuries. Mbonimpa’s son and his son-in-law were both shot dead in 2015.

APRODH’s representative in Gitega province, Nestor Nibitanga, was arrested in 2017 and sentenced in 2018 to five years in prison on charges similar to those brought against Nkina. He was released in April as part of President Évariste Ndayishimiye’s pardon of more than 5,000 prisoners.

Another human rights defender, Germain Rukuki, was arrested in 2017 and sentenced to 32 years in prison in 2018 on trumped-up charges related to his human rights work. His sentence was confirmed by the appeal court in 2019, but the appeal court’s decision was subsequently overturned by the Supreme Court. The appeal court reduced his sentence to one year in June 2021. He was released the same month.

Burundi’s civil society and media organizations were among the first targets of the government repression in 2015. The government suspended or closed most independent human rights organizations and media outlets and drove them into exile. Despite some overtures by President Ndayishimiye towards the media in 2021, the Burundian government continues to view human rights work with suspicion, and severe restrictions on human rights, including the right to freedom of expression, remain in place.

Most independent human rights organizations have been unable to resume their activities in Burundi, especially as the Burundian authorities have issued arrest warrants for many of their leading activists in exile. Twelve human rights defenders and journalists were among a group of 34 people sentenced to life in prison in absentia in June 2020 on accusations of involvement in an attempted coup in May 2015; the Supreme Court judgment was not made public until February 2021. - Human Rights Watch

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