Four journalists of the Burundian media Iwacu released on a presidential pardon

After 430 days in prison, the four journalists of the Burundian media Iwacu were released on Thursday 24 December. Accused of undermining state security, they had been arrested on 22 October 2019 and sentenced to two and a half years in detention after a highly criticized court case. Evariste Ndayishimiye finally granted them a presidential pardon.
They can spend Christmas with their families. Christine Kamikazi, Agnès Ndirubusa, Egide Harerimana and Térence Mpozenzi, the four journalists from Iwacu, are free. They regained their freedom on Thursday. A release they owe to Évariste Ndayishimiye, the president of Burundi, elected in May and in office since June.
Willy Niamitwé, head of the office of information and communication at the Burundian presidency, told our colleagues:
“I would first like to recall that the four journalists who are being released by presidential pardon have previously addressed a request for a presidential pardon to the President of the Republic of Burundi, to which he responded favorably. In addition, the four journalists have paid the fines against them. They behaved well, they behaved in an exemplary manner during their detention. All these elements militated in favor of their pardon.’’
The four journalists had been arrested on 22 October 2019 while reporting on a story. They were subsequently sentenced to two and a half years in detention, following a highly criticised court case. Welcoming “the measure taken by the head of state”, Antoine Kaburahe, the founder and director of publications of the press group Iwacu, said:
“This is really good news. They will be reunited with their families, relatives and friends. We are so happy about this news tonight, on Christmas Eve. I really hope that this liberation is the beginning of a new page for the media in Burundi. Many journalists are in exile, many media outlets are not functioning, including the BBC. If this could be the beginning of a new story, a new collaboration between the media and the authorities, because Burundi really needs free media. Burundi is on the road to reconstruction. Every democracy needs a quality press. For our part, we will of course continue to work towards this goal.’’