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UA 273/91 - Burundi: legal concern: Domitien Hakizumutware, Johnson Hatungimana, Sylvestre Maniraho, Serge Singirizina and three others, names unknown (includes correction)

, Index number: AFR 16/002/1991

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AFR 16/02/91
Distr: UA/SC
PRIORITY
UA 273/91 Legal concern 9 August 1991
BURUNDI: Domitien Hakizumutware
Johnson Hatungimana
Sylvestre Maniraho
Serge Singirizina
and three others, names unknown
Amnesty International has learned that the four persons named above and three others, all members
of the Hutu ethnic group, are held in custody since their arrest on 31 July 1991 in Buganda
commune (district) in the northwestern province of Cibitoke. The wife of Johnson Hatungimana
was also arrested but was released with her baby soon afterwards. The seven still detained are
said to be held at Mpimba prison in the capital Bujumbura but there are reports that they may
be transferred soon to Rumonge prison in southwest Burundi. They are reportedly accused of being
members of an opposition group known as the Parti pour la libération du peuple hutu (PALIPEHUTU),
Hutu People's Liberation Party, but they are not known to have been charged with any specific
offence.
Those arrested are reported to have been found holding a meeting in the house of Johnson
Hatungimana. It was said that the meeting was being held to plan the commemoration of the death
in August 1990 in detention in Tanzania of the former PALIPEHUTU leader, Remy Gahutu. Before
the arrests took place members of the Burundi security forces surrounded the house in which
the meeting was being held. In yet unexplained circumstances one of the soldiers shot another
soldier dead and also shot Sylvestre Maniraho in one foot. Sylvestre Maniraho has been hospitalized
in Bujumbura military hospital.
Amnesty International is concerned that they may be prisoners of conscience as they do
not appear to have used or advocated violence in the activities which led to their arrest. The
organization is further concerned that they may be held for long periods without charge or trial
and without having the opportunity to challenge the legal basis for their detention.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
For much of the 1980s people suspected or known to be government critics were detained for long
periods without charge or trial. Most of those arrested were Hutu detained because of their
social positions or because they criticised domination of political and military power by the
Tutsi. Thousands were summarily killed by members of the Tutsi-dominated security forces,
especially in 1965, 1972 and 1988, following intercommunal disturbances or other political crises.
PALIPEHUTU was formed in the early 1980s by members of the majority Hutu ethnic group living
in exile, to campaign against Tutsi domination. Its known and suspected sympathizers inside
Burundi have been frequently subjected to harassment and prolonged detention without trial.
The Burundi authorities accuse PALIPEHUTU of seeking political change by violent means but they
are not known to have engaged in armed opposition.
PALIPEHUTU has declared as inadequate political reforms initiated by President Buyoya.
In March 1991 President Buyoya appointed a Constitutional Commission which will draft a new
constitution which is expected to recommend multi-party democracy. Only the ruling Union pour
le progrès national (UPRONA), Union for National Progress, is so far allowed in Burundi.
2
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telegrams/telexes/express and airmail letters, in FRENCH if possible:
- expressing concern that the persons mentioned above (naming one or more) were reportedly
arrested because they met to hold a meeting concerning the anniversary of the death of the former
leader of PALIPEHUTU, although they were not using or advocating violence;
- inquiring whether they are still being held and if so, where they are held and which authority
is responsible for their detention, what the legal basis for their detention is
and seeking assurances that they will be allowed to challenge in a court of law the legal grounds
for their detention;
- asking whether they have been charged with any specific offence and whether they have been
allowed access to legal counsel and whether they can receive visits by their families;
- seeking assurances that they are not being ill-treated and have access to legal counsel and
their families, and adequate medical care;
- urging the authorities to ensure that the seven people are released without delay if they
are not to be charged with a recognizably criminal offence and brought promptly to fair trial.
APPEALS TO
1.
Son Excellence [Salutation: Monsieur le Président]
Major Pierre Buyoya
Président de la République
Présidence de la République
BP 1870,
Bujumbura, République du Burundi
Telegrams: President Buyoya, Bujumbura, Burundi
Telexes: 5039 presibu bdi or 5049 mnd bdi
2.
Monsieur Adrien Sibomana [Salutation:Monsieur le Premier Ministre]
Premier Ministre et Ministre de la Planification
Présidence de la République
BP 1870
Bujumbura, République du Burundi
Telegrams: Premier Ministre Sibomana, Bujumbura, Burundi
Telexes: 5039 presibu bdi
3.
Monsieur Sébastien Ntahuga [Salutation: Ministre Ntahuga]
Ministre de la Justice
Ministère de la Justice
BP 1880
Bujumbura, République du Burundi
Telegrams: Ministre Ntahuga, Bujumbura, Burundi
Telexes: via Ministry of Foreign Affairs: 5065 minirext, attn...
COPIES TO:
Monsieur Libère Bararunyeretse
Ministre de l'Intérieur et du Développement des collectivités locales
Ministère de l'Intérieur
3
BP 1910
Bujumbura, République du Burundi
Monsieur Cyprien Mbonimpa
Ministre des Relations extérieures et de la Coopération
Ministère des Relations extérieures
BP 1840
Bujumbura, République du Burundi
Monsieur Laurent Niyonkuru
Administrateur Général de la Sûreté nationale
Ministère de la Défense nationale
Bujumbura, République du Burundi
- Monsieur le Rédacteur-en-Chef, Le Renouveau, BP 2870, Bujumbura, Burundi
and to diplomatic representatives of Rwanda in your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section
office, if sending appeals after 20 September 1991.

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