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Crackdown in Burundi worsens – Nkurunziza’s thugs arrest Alexis Sinduhije

with 4 comments

I’ve just had a message from Burundi’s Movement for Security and Democracy, the political party founded earlier this year by the celebrated journalist Alexis Sinduhije.

In an email he sent on Saturday, Alexis reported that:

…there is more and more pressure against MSD from the government so that is a sign that we are a movement that is being taken seriously and a threat to the current power structure. In Kirundo and Ngozi they have been trying to arrest our colleagues out in the collines doing good work.

According to today’s message from the MSD, 30 party members, including Alexis himself, have now been arrested following increasing threats and harrassment by the authorities:

Today the police arrived at the permance de MSD with a search warrant. They then took 30+ of the MSD members that were there to the Jabe police station. Alexis remained in office and then was later taken in as well. He has not been allowed to see his lawyer and no reason for his detention. They claim they are under investigation for holding a meeting. Alexis has asked that the MSD members be realeased and only he be detained as he is the sole responsable.

Like Jean-Claude Kavumbagu, the campaigning journalist arrested in September, Alexis Sinduhije has been a huge help in raising the profile of the Titanic Express case over the years, and the book would have been considerably diminished without the input he gave to the campaign.

This latest move by the Burundian authorities to suppress the political opposition makes a further mockery of the PR efforts of international religious groups bent on presenting Burundi’s corrupt and authoritarian Christian evangelical President as the model of the “forgiving” African leader.

More information about Alexis Sinduhije’s work can be found at the MSD’s Facebook page.

04/11 Update from MSD:

Alexis spent his first night in police detention. He had a small cell to himself. He had a mattress but did not sleep. He has not been beaten or tortured.

His friends and supports around the world are organising support. The American, Dutch, British, French, Belgian , German, South African and Norwegian embassies are all informed.

International press has been informed as well. However given the fact that today is election day in the US we do not expect much attention.

He has not been allowed to see his lawyer yet.

4 Responses

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  1. What has changed in Burundi? I believed that Burundians had learned that the rule of dictatorship can never be fruitful.I do hope that Burundi learns to accept that People will always have different views, there is no point to impose each other’s vision on the Nation.

    Desire Katihabwa

    November 4, 2008 at 10:54 am

  2. […] Crackdown in Burundi worsens – Nkurunziza’s thugs arrest Alexis Sinduhije […]

  3. It is time for the Burundian politicians to review the definition of “Democracy” because what we observe now days is a fascist or nazi ruling at the same time rooting the wealth of the nation.

    The looser is any president or politician who are against any constructive criticism from civilians and other politicians; because if they have to act like fascist or nazi when ruling, they cant win. The good will of greater citizens will always win, no matter how long takes.

    A good government is one that has the ability to communicate with its people, the ability to listen actively to them and the ability to take into account opinions, views and critism from people to that their policy, ruling system will serve the best interests of its citizens.

    Many burundian people from both ethnic groups believe and witness what Alexis is campaining for. He is talking about justice, fairness, anti-corruption, developement of natural and human resourcse, promotion of prosperity and good health among citizens. This is what the government should do government for people.

    Odette Reidy

    November 7, 2008 at 4:22 pm

  4. […] Amnesty International adopts Alexis Sinduhije as a “Prisoner of Conscience” November 20, 2008 Amnesty International has added its voice to those expressing concern about the worsening human rights situation in Burundi – and in particular the arbitrary arrest of the journalist-turned-opposition activist Alexis Sinduhije, who helped me enormously when I was researching Titanic Express, and whose case I’ve been highlighting recently: […]

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