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Burundi frees RFI journalist Ruvakuki for medical care

AFP/Esdras Ndikumana

RFI Swahili correspondent Hassan Ruvakuki, who was jailed on terrorism charges in Burundi, was freed “provisionally” Wednesday so that he could receive medical care. RFI has called on the courts to free him on bail.

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Ruvakuki was arrested in November 2011 and given a life sentence in June 2012.

His jail term was reduced to three years in January but on appeal the conviction was changed from terrorism to membership of a gang.

On his release Ruvakuki said that he couldn’t wait to be with his family and that he was looking forward to see his baby daughter, Mirna, who was born while he was in jail.

“RFI hopes that Burundi’s judiciary will confirm this provisional liberation in granting the journalist parole as has been requested and to which he has a legal right,” an RFI statement said.

It repeated the channel’s “confidence in its correspondent” and insisted that he was doing his job as a journalist when he visited rebels in neighbouring Tanzania to report on their activities, the act that led to accusations that he helped them plan an attack on Burundi.

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