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RFI reporter faces terrorism trial in Burundi

Radio France Internationale’s Swahili correspondent in Burundi goes on trial Thursday, accused of “terrorism” because he reported on a rebel movement that attacked the country from neighbouring Tanzania. Twenty-two other people are in the dock in Burundi’s first terrorist trial.


Hassan Ruvakuki, who is the Burundi correspondent for RFI's Kiswahili service, is among four people accused of giving the sign for rebels of the Forces for the Restoration of Democracy (FRD) to launch an attack on 20 November and of helping them by giving them publicity.

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RFI/Anthony Terrade

Nine others are accused of spying for the group and 10 of taking part in the attack.

All 23 are accused of a new crime, “terrorist acts”, which can mean life in prison.

The trial is to taking place in Cankuzo in the east of the country.

Ruvakuki, who was arrested a month ago, claims is innocent.

His lawyer Onésime Kabayabaya claims that after his arrest Ruvakuki was detained without charge in a military camp and a police station for over three weeks, as well as being denied access to lawyers.

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