Thursday, March 4, 2021

Burundi: Girls jailed for defacing President’s photo freed

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Isaac Kaledzihttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi is an experienced and award winning journalist from Ghana. He has worked for several media brands both in Ghana and on the International scene. Isaac Kaledzi is currently serving as an African Correspondent for DW.
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Officials in Burundi have freed the three schoolgirls detained for scribbling on President Pierre Nkurunziza’s photo.

The schoolchildren were arrested in Kirundo province, in Burundi’s northeast for an act authorities said was insulting to the President.

They had scribbled over images of President Pierre Nkurunziza printed in their school text books.

Seven of the schoolchildren were initially arrested two weeks ago for the act but four of them, including a 13-year-old, were freed immediately.

The three schoolgirls all under 18 years have been freed but charges against them still remain. They are facing a possible jail term of five years.

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Their lawyer Nyanzira Prosper told the BBC prosecutors are still investigating the girls and the alleged crime.

“We appreciate the work of the court which looks to have acted with independence,” Prosper said.

Just a child’s act?

A child’s rights activist, David Ninganza told Reuters that “It is true that scribbling (on the president’s picture) is a punishable offence under the Burundian law.

But since it was committed by teenagers, I believe  this is a mitigating circumstance.”

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He adds that “Those school children are not engaged in any political fights and need no political posts. That’s why judges have to consider all those issues in their investigations.”

This would not be the first time school children serve a jail term for defacing the picture of the President.

11 children were jailed for defacing a photograph of Nkurunziza in a school text book in 2016.

Global support for the girls

There was a global support across various social media platforms asking for the government of Burundi to release the detained girls.

There was a hashtag of  trending on social media platforms in solidarity with the schoolgirls.

Source: Africafeeds.com

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