Hassan Ruvakuki

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South Sudanese Information Minister Michael Makuei has told reporters not to interview the opposition. (Eye Radio)

Last week, South Sudanese Information Minister Michael Makuei warned reporters in the capital, Juba, not to interview the opposition or face possible arrest or expulsion from the country. According to the minister, a lawyer by profession, broadcast interviews with rebels by local media are considered "hostile propaganda" and "in conflict with the law."

Hassan Ruvakuki, seen here after his release from prison today. (RFI)

Nairobi, March 6, 2013--Burundian authorities today released Hassan Ruvakuki, a reporter who has been imprisoned for 16 months on charges related to his interview with a rebel leader. The circumstances of the release were not immediately clear, and the Committee to Protect Journalists called on authorities to vacate Ruvakuki's conviction and prison sentence.

Burundi journalists react to tear gas at Tuesday's protest. (Teddy Mazina)

On Tuesday, Burundi's press corps did what it has done for the past three weeks: protest the imprisonment of one of its own. Hassan Ruvakuki is a reporter jailed since November 28, 2011 on anti-state charges; for the first time, the journalists wore white t-shirts showing Ruvakuki in his green prison uniform. But this time, the reaction by police caught journalists by surprise.

The rise of extremist groups who target journalists is a potent risk. By Mohamed Keita

(AFP/Pius Utomi Ekpei)

Hassan Ruvakuki (IWACU)

At 8 o'clock Tuesday morning roughly 50 Burundian journalists silently marched around the courthouses in the capital, Bujumbura, and the offices of the justice minister, protesting the imprisonment of their colleague, Hassan Ruvakuki.

"They sentenced him to three years without following the law," said Patrick Nduwimana, one of the protest organizers and the interim director of local private radio station Bonesha FM. A week earlier, on Tuesday, January 8, an appeals court in Burundi had sentenced Ruvakuki, a reporter for Bonesha FM and the French government-backed Radio France Internationale, to three years imprisonment for "working with a criminal group."

Hassan Ruvakuki was sentenced today to life in prison. (Iwacu-burundi)

Nairobi, June 20, 2012--A Burundian appeals court must reverse the ruling against a journalist sentenced to life in prison on vague terrorism charges, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

A High Court in the eastern town of Cankuzo today found Hassan Ruvakuki, a reporter for local radio station Bonesha FM and French government-funded broadcaster Radio France Internationale, and 13 other defendants guilty of "participating in terrorist attacks" under the country's penal code, Patrick Nduwimana, the interim director at Bonesha FM, told CPJ.

New York, May 8, 2012--State prosecutors requested a life sentence today for Burundian radio reporter Hassan Ruvakuki who was imprisoned after airing a November interview with a purported rebel leader, according to news reports.

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