Burundi frees 'treason' journalist

2011-05-16 21:59

Bujumbura - A Burundi court freed on Monday a local journalist detained for 10 months on treason charges for questioning the east African country's ability to respond to an attack by Islamist militants.

Jean Claude Kavumbagu, who runs the online news agency Net Press, was arrested last July for saying Burundi would not be able to cope if attacked by Somalia's al-Shabaab rebels.

The court did, however, find Kavumbagu guilty of publishing stories that could affect national security and the economy and sentenced him to eight months in jail as well as an $80 fine. He was freed on consideration of time already served.

"I am so happy to regain my freedom and look forward to resuming my work and being reunited with my family," Kavumbagu told journalists outside the gate of the capital Bujumbura's main prison.

Burundi is a declared target for al-Shabaab militants because it has troops in an African Union peacekeeping force that is helping prop up Somalia's Western-backed government in the face of a four-year insurgency.

A prosecutor last month requested life imprisonment for Kavumbagu.

The Eastern Africa Journalists Association (EAJA) welcomed Kavumbagu's release but challenged the grounds of his arrest.

"The process was inordinately long and this ruling establishes a dangerous precedent for journalists," EAJA Secretary General Omar Faruk Osman said in a statement.

Read more on:    al shabaab  |  burundi  |  east africa  |  media

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Meet instagram star, Pumpkin the racoon

With 300 000 followers and growing Pumpkin is winning over the internet!



The cats that cost R35 000
Miley Cyrus can’t get enough of her new puppy
13 guilty pets
Meet SA's top poacher-catcher

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

In order to really connect to your feelings, you need to quieten your mind. Let go of expectations and connect to the moment you...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.