to go further Follow the news on Burundi November 27, 2020 Find out more Organisation Reporters Without Borders is pleased to learn that Hassan Ruvakuki, a radio reporter who was released on “health grounds” in March after 15 months in prison, has now been granted a formal “conditional release” that allows him to go back to work. The justice ministry ordered it on 16 October.Ruvakuki, who worked for local radio Bonesha FM and Radio France Internationale’s Swahili service, said he was “very happy” with the decision and thanked “all those people who have helped me with my release.” “We are relieved that Ruvakuki is now officially free and allowed resume working as a journalist,” Reporters Without Borders said. “At the same time, we will monitor the conditionality of his release in an attempt to ensure that it does not represent too great a threat hanging over his journalistic work.“While we welcome his release, we continue to maintain that Ruvakuki is innocent of the charges brought against him. All possible light must eventually be shed on this case so that he can be cleared of the suspicion that this conviction cast on him”The justice ministry agreed to consider a conditional release if Ruvakuki withdrew his appeal against his conviction, which he did. On the grounds that he had served more than a quarter of his sentence, the ministry finally decided that his release would remain conditional for period twice as long as the part of his sentence that he did not serve.As well as allowing him to go back to work, the decision allows him to move freely about the country and to travel abroad.Ruvakuki’s “administrative” release on health grounds was granted on 6 March, a few days before Burundi’s president visited France.Arrested in November 2011 shortly after returning from neighbouring Tanzania, where he had gone to cover a Burundian rebel group being formed there, he was sentenced to life imprisonment in June 2012 on a charge of “participating in terrorist activity.” This was reduced to three years in prison on appeal on 8 January 2013 after the charge was changed to “participating in an association formed with the aim of attacking persons and property.”The authorities have never produced any evidence of his participation in the rebel movement.Reporters Without Borders has always claimed Hassan Ruvakuki’s innocence and has supported him since his arrest in 2011.Photo : AFP / ESDRAS NDIKUMANA Help by sharing this information Burundian appeal court upholds prison sentences for four journalists The 2020 pandemic has challenged press freedom in Africa Receive email alerts BurundiAfrica News October 22, 2013 – Updated on January 20, 2016 “Conditional release” follows radio reporter’s release “on health grounds” BurundiAfrica News October 21, 2020 Find out more Four Burundian journalists complete 12 months in arbitrary detention Reports News RSF_en June 5, 2020 Find out more
The prosecutors alleged that the two suspects had been scouting Novel’s house days prior to the attack to plan their entry and escape routes. They claimed the motorcycle that was used during the attack belonged to Ronny.“Novel suffered severe injuries, experiencing infection or obstruction that could prevent him from working, damage to the right and left eye’s cornea that has the potential to cause blindness or loss of vision,” Fedrik read out the indictment.The indictments also quoted a report from the hospital that examined Novel after the attack, which stated that he had suffered first- and second-degree burns on his face and a third-degree burn on his left eye from the acid.Both defendants said they would not make a plea against the indictment.Presiding judge Djumyanto decided to adjourn the trial until April 2.Read also: Fact-finding team report mocked me: NovelThursday’s hearing marks a new episode in the prolonged investigation into the attack, which took place on April 11, 2017. The two defendants allegedly threw acid at Novel’s face when he was walking home from morning prayers at Al Ihsan Mosque in Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta. Novel’s left eye was severely injured as a result of the attack, requiring him to undergo surgery in Singapore.After several separate investigations and the establishment of fact-finding team in January 2019 that failed to identify any suspect at the end of its six-month tenure, the police finally arrested the two suspects in December last year.The police force was criticized because it took years to arrest two low-ranking officers. Many members of the public suspect that the mastermind behind the attack is still on the loose.The Novel Baswedan Advocacy Team also felt that the trial was a mere formality that had no intention of revealing the mastermind.“The indictment contradicts the findings of the National Police Fact-Finding Team for Novel’s case, which found that the motive for the acid attack was related to the large corruption cases that were handled by him,” advocacy team member Alghiffari Aqsa told The Jakarta Post on Thursday. Read also: Lawyers doubt police will on Novel caseHe added that the police’s fact-finding team also suggested that there was a mastermind.He said he also found it strange that the suspects and their lawyers did not intend to object to the indictment.“Based on this fact, the advocacy team considers that the trial of the Novel case is nothing but a formality,” Alghiffari said. “The trial goes smoothly without exceptions [from the defendants]. It doesn’t seem to have the intention whatsoever to reveal the intellectual actor and will most likely lead to a light sentence.” (mfp)Topics : Meanwhile, as subsidiary indictments, the two were charged of violating articles 353 and 351 of the Criminal Code, both related to mistreatment.In the indictment read to the court, Fedrik accused Ronny and Rahmat of attacking Novel because of a grudge over the victim’s work as an investigator for the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), which has sent powerful politicians and government officials, including top police generals like Insp. Gen. Djoko Susilo in 2012, to prison.Read also: Novel Baswedan receives anticorruption award in MalaysiaAccording to the indictment, the two defendants saw this as a form of resistance against the National Police. The North Jakarta District Court held a session on Thursday to hear the indictment against two active police officers allegedly involved in the acid attack against top corruption investigator Novel Baswedan.The defendants are Ronny Bugis and Rahmat Kadir Mahulete, both officers from Depok’s Kelapa Dua mobile brigade.During Thursday’s hearing, which was not attended by Novel, prosecutor Fedrik Adhar charged the two defendants with violating Article 355 on premeditated ill treatment, which carries a maximum sentence of 12 years’ imprisonment upon conviction.