Didier Reynders responds to the sentencing of demonstrators in Burundi
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders has learned of the 22 Movement for Solidarity and Democracy (MSD) activists who were sentenced to life in prison in Burundi. This sentence followed a demonstration of their party that turned violent on Saturday 8 March in the capital Bujumbura. Another 27 activists were given prison terms of between 2 and 10 years.
Didier Reynders is concerned about the growing tension and the diminished freedom of speech and association in the country. He hopes the condemned will be given the opportunity to appeal this decision if they so desire, and he hopes for an honest and transparent trial respecting the rights of the defence.
Minister Reynders joins High Representative Catherine Ashton’s call for dialogue and national unity and asks the Burundian politicians to be calm and reserved, to open up a dialogue and to disavow violence. Only then will the people of Burundi have the opportunity to vote in free, fair and peaceful elections.