Burundi lawyers strike over arrest of colleague

25th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

Lawyers in Burundi announced a week-long strike on Monday in protest at the arrest of one of their colleagues for "complicity in espionnage".

Around 100 lawyers gathered outside the courthouse in the capital Bujumbura in support of Suzanne Bukuru, who was arrested and imprisoned on July 15 for helping French journalists get an interview with victims she is representing in a rape trial involving a French man, according to legal sources.

"After a general assembly meeting, lawyers have decided to suspend all participation in public hearings as a sign of protest and indignation at a justice system that sabotages and persecutes its own defenders of justice", said Isidore Rufyikiri, representative for the lawyers.

They would protest every morning until Friday, he added.

Spokesman for Burundi's supreme court, Elie Batungwanayo, said the lawyers had the right to show solidarity with Bukuru but that the justice ministry had "done its job" and that a judge would rule on the matter on Tuesday.

© 2011 AFP

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