The “Quentin” case in Burundi highlights police impunity


Quentin (real name withheld) belongs to a Burundian opposition party that has been targeted by the authorities. In 2014, during a party meeting, the Burundian police burst in and opened fire, deliberately wounding Quentin.

To this day, Quentin remains in prisons in inhumane and degrading conditions. © Alan Levine

The next day, despite his clearly critical condition, Quentin was arrested. He was then beaten with rifle butts, boots, and clubs.

Even though Quentin was too weak to stand, the authorities insulted him and threatened him with death over a period of four hours, before finally taking him to the hospital.

The respite was short-lived. Before Quentin could fully recover, the authorities took him out of the hospital and put him in prison, where he remains to this day in inhumane and degrading conditions. As a result of the authorities’ continued refusal to provide adequate care, Quentin acquired an infection in his forearm that has left him partially paralyzed.



Quentin filed a complaint about his mistreatment, and NGOs and media outlets investigated the case. Yet no investigation has been conducted by the Burundian authorities. Quentin’s torturers were never punished by the state.

In 2016, TRIAL International filed a submission with an international human rights body, seeking formal recognition of and reparations for the human rights violations Quentin suffered. The case is currently pending.

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