Germain Rukuki has risked everything to campaign against torture in Burundi.
Because of his human rights work, he is serving a 32-year prison sentence.
Emelyne recalls the moment when her husband was taken away. They were woken up in the early hours of the morning on 13 July 2017 by heavy footsteps and banging on their door. Dozens of security officers stormed into their home, while the rest blocked the streets outside.
Germain was arrested in connection to his previous work at a local organisation called Action by Christians for Abolition of Torture (ACAT-Burundi), which had been shut down by the government. On 26 April 2018, he was found guilty of “rebellion”, “threatening State security”, “participation in an insurrectional movement” and “attack on the authority of the State” and sentenced to 32 years in prison.
He is currently in the massively overcrowded Ngozi Prison, which puts him at a high risk of catching Covid-19. He is forced to share a cell with 120 inmates, with only two showers and two toilets.
Since 2015, many other human rights defenders, opposition leaders and journalists have fled Burundi and those that have remained have faced threats and reprisals. Germain has appealed the decision of the court.
On 30 June 2020, the Supreme Court set aside the appeal court’s decision and ordered that the appeal should be heard again. We must call for his release.
Sign the petition to President Evariste Ndayishimiye demanding Germain is freed now.