August 27, 2017
A group of United Nations experts* has called on the authorities in Burundi to release a human rights defender who has been detained since 13 July 2017 and faces serious charges including rebellion.
“We are concerned by the seemingly arbitrary detention of Germain Rukuki, which is evidently linked to his work in defending human rights,” the experts said.
“We are particularly dismayed by the decision of Higher Court of Ntahangwa to hold him in custody despite the lack of concrete indications of guilt, which the country’s criminal code sets as a precondition for keeping someone in preventative detention.
“We call on the Burundian authorities to release Mr. Rukuki, to guarantee his physical and psychological wellbeing, and to ensure that the proceedings against him are carried out with full respect for due process.”
Mr. Rukuki has been formally charged with attacking the internal security of the State, and with rebellion for having worked for the NGO Christian Action for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT), where he is a previous treasurer. ACAT was banned in October 2016, along with four other Burundian organizations.