Burundi Prosecutors Demand Life Sentence for Ex-PM Accused of Coup Plot

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A court source and witnesses stated that Burundi’s prosecutors demanded on Thursday November 9, 2023, that Alain-Guillaume Bunyoni, the country’s former prime minister and an army general, be given a life sentence for his alleged threats against the president’s life.

Bunyoni who has served as prime minister from mid-2020 until September 2022 was fired, days after President Evariste Ndayishimiye warned of a “coup” plot against him.

He is accused of endangering the life of the head of state, compromising national security, seeking to overthrow government institutions, destabilizing the economy, and unlawful enrichment.

“I request that Alain-Guillaume Bunyoni be punished with a sentence of penal servitude for life for all these reasons,” said Prosecutor Jean-Bosco Bucumi.

Bucumi further called for a fine of around $2,500 and “damages equivalent to twice the value of the 153 houses and plots of land and the 43 vehicles belonging to Bunyoni”.

Bunyoni, a former minister of internal security and head of the police, was considered the leader of a group of military chiefs known as the generals, who held actual political authority in Burundi.

The Burundi Human Rights Initiative, Carina Tertsakian criticized Bunyoni’s arrest for being the product of a personal rivalry with Ndayishimiye, saying it was a great chance to hold him accountable for his human rights violations, even though none of the crimes included torture or murder.

Along with other six co-defendants, Bunyoni pleaded not guilty to all charges and said he should be cleared because of a lack of evidence against him.

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