In response to media reports that a Burundian appeals court on Tuesday upheld the conviction of journalist Floriane Irangabiye, who is serving a 10-year prison term, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement:
“Coming on the eve of World Press Freedom Day, a Burundi court’s decision to uphold Floriane Irangabiye’s conviction only further illustrates the government’s hostility toward dissenting views,” said CPJ’s sub-Saharan Africa representative, Muthoki Mumo. “Irangabiye does not belong behind bars, and it is devastating that she faces a decade in prison. She has suffered far too much, and authorities should do the right thing and free her immediately.”
Irangabiye was arrested on August 30, 2022, by intelligence personnel in Bujumbura. On January 2, the Mukaza High Court in Bujumbura convicted her of undermining the integrity of the national territory and sentenced her to 10 years in prison and fined her 1 million Burundian francs (US$482). Irangabiye’s conviction stemmed from commentary she shared on the diaspora-based online media outlet Radio Igicaniro, in which she was critical of the political elite in Burundi.
An appeal against her conviction was heard on March 31, and in a judgment issued Tuesday, May 2, an appeals court in Bujumbura affirmed the lower court’s decision, according to those reports and a person familiar with the case who spoke to CPJ on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.