Sick Burundi activist kept in jail

2014-09-15 19:48

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Bujumbura - A Burundi court on Monday rejected pleas to release on bail a sick human rights activist on trial for endangering national security, ordering a medical board to examine his case.

Pierre-Claver Mbonimpa, 65, president of the rights group Aprodeh, was arrested in May and is on trial on for comments made to a radio station.

He criticised what he said was the paramilitary training of members of the youth wing of the ruling party in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

"This decision is a disgrace to the justice of this country because Mbonimpa is very ill," said lawyer Armel Niyongere, adding that medical records had already been submitted detailing his illness.

Mbonimpa, who has diabetes and hypertension, was taken to a clinic in August.

He has been awarded the International Red Cross' highest decoration, The Henry Dunant Medal, for his commitment to human rights for his campaign against a series of killings of opposition members.

Burundi, a small nation in Africa's Great Lakes region, emerged in 2006 from 13 years of brutal civil war and its political climate remains fractious ahead of presidential polls due in June 2015.

Mbonimpa was arrested after a leaked UN report claimed the government was arming young supporters ahead of elections. The government fiercely denied the allegations.

Read more on:    burundi  |  east africa

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