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Burundi: RFI and AFP file court complaint for torture of their correspondent
Faced with a lack of any action following an attack on their Burundi correspondent Esdras Ndikumana on August 2 as he carried out his work, RFI and AFP have filed a complaint for torture against persons unknown at the supreme court in Bujumbura.
The two French news organisations had immediately condemned the attack in a press statement and in a letter sent to the Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza.
The president issued a statement 11 days later condemning “the unacceptable behaviour in a country with the rule of law” towards Esdras Ndikumana by agents of the National Intelligence Service (SNR).
He also said that he had asked the “SNR administrator general to urgently establish the circumstances of these acts, which belong to another era, so that those responsible are prosecuted and punished according to the law”.
Nothing happened following this statement, so RFI and AFP wrote again to President Nkurunziza on September 22 but did not receive a reply. This silence led AFP and RFI to go to court in support of their correspondent. A complaint was submitted yesterday.
RFI and AFP regard the prompt completion of the investigation as an absolute condition for the re-establishment of confidence in the respect of rule of law and freedom of expression in Burundi. Only the prosecution and sentencing of the perpetrators will provide Esdras Ndikumana, who is still undergoing treatment abroad two months after the assault, with the minimum guarantees that he can return to his country to work without fearing for his physical safety.
AFP is a global news agency delivering fast, accurate, in-depth coverage of the events shaping our world from conflicts to politics, sports, entertainment and the latest breakthroughs in health, science and technology. With 2,326 staff spread across almost every country, AFP covers the world 24 hours a day in six languages. AFP delivers the news in video, text, photos, multimedia and graphics to a wide range of customers including newspapers and magazines, radio and TV channels, web sites and portals, mobile operators, corporate clients as well as public institutions.
About RFI, a France Médias Monde radio station
RFI (Radio France Internationale) is a French news and current affairs public radio station that broadcasts worldwide in French and in 13 other languages*. RFI is broadcast on 156 different FM frequencies in 62 different countries, via medium and short wave relays, on 30 different satellite signals throughout the world and also on the internet and apps. RFI is also broadcast across the globe via more than 1000 partner radios. It draws on the expertise of its Paris-based editorial teams and unique global network of 400 correspondents to provide news bulletins and features offering listeners the means to better understand the world. Some 37.3 million listeners around the world tune into RFI every week (measured in 37 of the 150 countries where broadcasts are heard), and its new media platforms attract an average of 11.1 million visits a month (2014 average), while social networks keep 9.6 million followers connected (in September 2015). rfi.fr
*Brazilian, Cambodian, Chinese, English, Hausa, Mandinkan, Persian, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Vietnamese