Burundi Civil Society Groups Urge Release of Anti-Graft Activist

Ten Burundian civil-society groups urged the government to free an anti-corruption activist arrested after saying that some of the country’s magistrates obtained their posts by bribing Justice Ministry officials.

Faustin Ndikumana was jailed on Feb. 7 after sending a letter to the ministry calling for an end to bribery, Gabriel Rufyiri, president of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Malpractice Observatory, told reporters today in Bujumbura, the capital. Ndikumana is head of the Words and Action for the Awakening of Conscience and the Evolution of Mindsets group.

“We are here to launch a campaign to call on the government to release him and urge our government to be more transparent in recruitment,” Rufyiri said.

Amnesty International, the London-based advocacy group, said Ndikumana has been charged with making “false declarations” under Burundi’s anti-corruption laws and faces as long as 10 years in prison and a fine of as much as 1 million Burundian francs ($716).

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