The Burundian journalist Jean-Claude Kavumbagu, an ardent critic of corruption and human rights abuse in his country, was arrested in September 2008 after questioning President Nkurunziza's expenditure at the Beijing Olympics. Kavumbagu’s news agency says that he spent $90,000. Nkurunziza’s government claims it was about half that figure, and has jailed Jean-Claude on a charge of “defamation” simply for saying otherwise. The average income in Burundi is $700 a year. Amnesty International has taken up the case, listing Jean-Claude as “a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression.” Jean-Claude Kavumbagu has been an active supporter of efforts to secure justice over the December 2000 "Titanic Express" massacre and many others like it. While the perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity remain unpunished, a courageous independent journalist is languishing in jail. We urge the international donor community, including the UK government and the European Union, to stand up for freedom and justice in Burundi, and press for Jean-Claude's unconditional release.
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