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Burundi: Fear for safety: Deogratias Sindaruhunga

, N° d'index: AFR 16/001/1995

AI is concerned about reports that Deogratias Sindaruhunga, a Hutu, has been arbitrarily detained and transferred to a military camp in Bubanza province, where he may be at risk of torture and extrajudicial execution. He was reportedly arrested on 22 December 1994 while trying to separate two men who were fighting. The men, along with a bystander, took him to the local authorities who apparently held him for a few days before handing him over to soldiers. AI does not know if he has been charged. It it believed that he may be in military custody solely because of his Hutu ethnic origin.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AFR 16/01/95
Distr: UA/SC
UA 01/95 Fear for safety 4 January 1995
BURUNDI Déogratias Sindaruhunga
Amnesty International is gravely concerned at reports that Déogratias
Sindaruhunga has been arbitrarily arrested, then transferred to the military
camp in Bubanza province, where he may be at risk of torture and extrajudicial
execution.
Reports indicate that he was arrested on 22 December 1994 while trying to
separate two men who were in a fight in his home district of Mpanda in Bubanza
province. These two men, together with a third man who was standing aside,
then took him to local authorities who detained him. He was allegedly held
at Musigati where he remained in a civilian prison for some days. However it
appears that the local authorities later handed him over to soldiers who took
him to the military camp of Bubanza. He was seen there by local people on 30
December. It is not clear if he has been charged.
Amnesty International believes that Déogratias Sindaruhunga may have been moved
to military custody solely on account of his belonging to the majority Hutu
ethnic group. The security forces in Burundi are dominated by members of the
Tutsi ethnic group and have been responsible for perpetrating human rights
violations including torture and extrajudicial execution against Hutu
civilians.
In November 1991 dozens of members of the Hutu ethnic group, including members
of Déogratias Sindaruhunga's family, were tortured and extrajudicially executed
at Bubanza military camp.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Violence engulfed most of Burundi in the aftermath an attempted coup in October
1993 during which the country's first democratically elected president,
Melchior Ndadaye, was killed by soldiers. Over 50,000 civilian people were
killed: Tutsi were killed by Hutu gangs, Hutu civilians were executed by security
forces. Ethnic disturbances and killings continued in 1994. Violence reached
a recent climax in Bujumbura in December 1994, costing the lives of tens of
people.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail
letters either in French or in your own language:
- expressing concern at the reported transfer of Déogratias Sindaruhunga to
the military camp in Bubanza province in late December 1994;
- seeking assurances that he is not being ill-treated and is not at risk of
extrajudicial execution;
- urging the military authorities to transfer him to civilian custody;
- urging that, if he is not to be charged with a recognizably criminal offence,
he should be released.
APPEALS TO
1) President:
Son Excellence Le Président
Sylvestre NTIBANTUNGANYA
Président de la République
2
Présidence de la République
BP 1870, Bujumbura
République du Burundi
Telegrams: President Ntibantunganya, Bujumbura, Burundi
Telexes: 5036 PRESIBU BDI
Faxes: + 257 22 64 24
Salutation: Monsieur le Président de la République/Dear President
2) Army Chief of Staff:
Lt.-Col Jean BIKOMAGU
Chef d'Etat-major général des Forces Armées
Etat-major général des Forces Armées
Ministère de la Défense nationale
Bujumbura
République du Burundi
Telegrams: CEMG Bikomagu, Bujumbura, Burundi
Faxes: + 257 22 21 48
Salutation: Monsieur le Chef d'Etat-major/Dear Chief of Staff
3) The Military Camp Authorities:
Monsieur le Commandant
Camp militaire de Bubanza
Bubanza
République du Burundi
Telegrams: Commandant, Camp militaire, Bubanza, Burundi
Salutation: Monsieur le Commandant / Dear Commander
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
Monsieur Anatole KANYENKIKO
Premier Ministre
Présidence de la République
BP 2800
Bujumbura
République du Burundi
Fax: + 257 22 64 24
and to diplomatic representatives of Burundi accredited to your country
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 20 February 1995.

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