Burundi lawyer jailed in French rape case freed

1st August 2011, Comments 0 comments

A Burundi lawyer for girls allegedly raped by a Frenchman was released from jail on Monday having spent 16 days behind bars without charge after helping French journalists interview her clients.

Suzanne Bukuru told AFP she was "pleased to be free and back with my family" but still did not know why she was jailed. Police said at the time she was detained for "complicity in espionage".

"I still do not understand the reason for my arrest considering I was only questioned once, on July 15, before my arrest," she said.

Association of Burundi Lawyers spokesman Sylvestre Banzubaze welcomed the release but urged authorities to free "two colleagues who are still languishing in prison, without any legal basis", one of them in the same case.

The arrest of Bukuru led lawyers to strike for a week. Several groups, including Amnesty International, demanded the release of the jailed lawyers.

French national Patrice Faye, 58, was convicted on July 25 of raping five teenaged girls who were students at a school he set up for poor children.

He was sentenced to 25 years in jail but denied the charges and said he would appeal.

© 2011 AFP

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