Enforced disappearance and torture due to political activism

20.09.2018

In April 2015 in Burundi, many people took to the streets to demonstrate against the renewal of President Pierre Nkurunziza’s mandate.

A few months later, unidentified armed men carried out attacks on several military camps. These attacks, considered as a turning point in the Burundian crisis, triggered a repressive campaign of unprecedented scale in several opposition-affiliated neighborhoods.

In this context, Sam (real name withheld), an opposition member involved in the anti-third-term protests, was violently arrested by a group of police officers. After being beaten up and harshly interrogated, Sam was forcibly taken into a police van.

Sam was seen one last time after his abduction, tied up in a police vehicle. He was covered in blood and the marks of the abuse that had suffered were still visible.

Proceedings

Promptly alerted about Sam’s disappearance, one of his relatives undertook numerous efforts to find him. Unfortunately, his searches were unsuccessful.

Worse still, Sam’s relative began to receive multiple threats and had to cut short the efforts he had initiated.

More than two years after the events, and despite the fact that the authorities have been informed of Sam’s disappearance, no investigation has been initiated and no investigative action has been undertaken. As a result, Sam is still reported missing and the perpetrators of these atrocities remain unpunished.

Sam’s situation, which continues to be outside the scope of the protection of the law, is extremely worrying as there are no means to ensure his safety.

In view of these circumstances, TRIAL International has brought the matter before an international body.

The procedure is currently underway.