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Summary execution of a whistleblower in Burundi

03.06.2016 ( Last modified: 29.08.2019 )

A member of the Burundian police, Jeff (real name withheld) witnessed rampant corruption among his ranks while at work. The fact that he was courageous enough to publicly report such abuse led to his arrest and then arbitrary detention for several weeks.

The intimidation continued after his release: more or less explicit warnings, dismissal and, finally, death threats. Faced with this growing pressure, Jeff had no choice but to go into hiding. Despite keeping a low profile, Jeff was arrested and summarily executed in August 2010. His family never had the chance to see his mortal remains or organize a funeral, despite its numerous requests.

Although national and international mobilization was strong, no light was ever shed on Jeff’s execution. In view of the Burundian authorities’ deadlock, an NGO coalition, of which TRIAL International was part, referred the case to an international human rights body to finally get an investigation into this case opened. Burundi must meet its obligations to prosecute the perpetrators of this crime, to protect its nationals and to afford reparations to the victim’s family.

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