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HomeJusticeBurundi: Former Prime Minister appears after 5 months in custody.

Burundi: Former Prime Minister appears after 5 months in custody.

General Bunyoni, a former CNDD-FDD rebel, was dismissed after 17 years holding various high positions in government since the CNDD’s ascension to power_ the current ruling party_ in 2005 PhotoFile

General Alain Guillaume Bunyoni former Burundi PM appeared for the first time, on Thursday September 28,2023 after 5-month detention in front of the supreme court.

Bunyoni’s public hearing, the former Prime Minister, took place in Gitega central prison, (Political capital of Burundi), since July after his relocation from Ngozi prison. He had been moved to Ngozi central prison in May after 2 weeks being detained in intelligence service as he had been arrested in April.

After his arrest, the spokesperson of the general prosecutor, Agnes Bangiricenge, in her statement, issued the 3 charges against Bunyoni including hampering the country’s security, disturbing the country’s economy, and the misuse of the country’s resources for self-interest.

Two counter were afterwards added to the 3 charges including Illegal possession of weapons as well as defaming the president’s reputation

The prosecuting attorney was unable to identify when Bunyoni committed those crimes during his 17 years as a high profile authority in the government of Burundi.

Alain Guillaume Bunyoni,51, was tried alongside 6 people prosecuted in the same case including police Desire Uwamahoro and Bapfumukeko Samuel Destin.

Those 3 had their lawyers while the rest detainees declared they would defend themselves.

Thursday’s public hearing was just the introduction before the in-depth hearing to kick off. The accused were not declared charges against them. The court provided the opportunity for them to ask any question related to the case prior to its depth beginning.

Pleading for release on bail

General Bunyoni, like other prisoners in Burundi, appeared in green clothes except his own shoes only.

Bunyoni pleaded for bail, citing his chronic disease, diabete B.

He went on saying he would give 300 million as guarantee to be temporarily released and added his seized house would be an additional caution that the government can profit.

“I am developing advanced type 2 diabetes. Routine treatments have not led to an improvement in my state of health. I am ready to pay the bail and moreover the courts have seized my real estate and a sum of 300 million BIF that I am ready to give as security,” pleaded the former Hutu rebel.

The representative of the public prosecutor said that Bunyoni wouldn’t be released claiming that he(Bunyoni) is accused of the toughest crimes. He added that the disease which he’s suffering, is simple and can be treated while being kept behind bars.

Others requested for the provisional release are Desire Uwamahoro and Samuel Desire Bapfumukeko.

However, the public prosecutor pleaded for the rejection of their supplication.

The other 4 requested for the case to be tried in Kirundi as the copies of the case were written in French.

“Neither phone, pen nor eyeglasses was allowed to enter the courtroom which can accommodate between 50 and 70 _ was tightly secured.

The court rule over the Bunyoni’s requests

The supreme court found the demands raised by General Bunyoni unfounded and confirmed his detention. In a public hearing on September 28,2023 which took place at the central prison of Gitega, the former Burundian prime minister pleaded for provisional release evoking a fatal chronic illness and the inhumane conditions of his detention.

Other decisions

The same court confirmed the detention of police colonel Desire Uwamahoro, former commander of the Anti-Riot Brigade, and Samuel Destin Bapfumukeko, an executive of the national intelligence service(SNR) who are being prosecuted in the same case as Bunyoni.

Up to September 2022. Gen.Bunyoni was the first Prime Minister since the current president Evariste Ndayishimiye ascended to power in June 2020. 

Evariste Ndayishimiye remained evasive over the reasons that prompted Bunyoni’s destitution. Bunyoni was ultimately arrested in April in the following year over the various charges.

General Bunyoni, a former CNDD-FDD rebel, was dismissed after 17 years holding various high positions in government since the CNDD’s ascension to power_ the current ruling party_ in 2005.

 

Moïse Ndayiragije
Moïse Ndayiragije
Moise Ndayiragije, journalist, Visual presenter, Environmental Advocate. He has been covering social ground based stories. He stretches from climate change to Biodiversity loss and social linkages. He covers news about Burundi, Great Lakes, and Africa.
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