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World Burundi ex-president to appeal murder conviction

19:01  23 october  2020
19:01  23 october  2020 Source:   msn.com

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Burundi's former president Pierre Buyoya said Friday he would appeal a life sentence against him over the 1993 assassination of his successor, which he denounced as politically motivated.

Pierre Buyoya wearing a suit and tie: Burundi's former president Pierre Buyoya says returning to the country to appeal his murder conviction woud be 'tantamount to suicide' © PEDRO UGARTE Burundi's former president Pierre Buyoya says returning to the country to appeal his murder conviction woud be 'tantamount to suicide'

Buyoya, currently the African Union's  representative for Mali and the Sahel, was convicted in absentia on Monday for "an attack against the head of state" over his role in the death of president Melchior Ndadaye.

About 20 military officials and civilians were also given sentences ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment by Burundi's Supreme Court.

Burundi ex-leader sentenced to life over murder of successor

  Burundi ex-leader sentenced to life over murder of successor Burundi's ex-president Pierre Buyoya has been sentenced to life in prison in absentia over the assassination of his successor in 1993, according to a court ruling seen by AFP Tuesday. Buyoya was on Monday convicted for "an attack against the head of state" over his role in the killing of the first democratically elected president, Melchior Ndadaye, during a coup d'etat which plunged the country into civil war. Aside from Buyoya, 18 high-ranking military officials and civilians who were close to him received the same sentence.

"This is a political trial conducted in a scandalous manner, in violation of all the rules of law," Buyoya said at a press conference in Bamako.

Buyoya said he would not return to Burundi to appeal the conviction, which he said would be "tantamount to suicide", but that he would "fight to be represented when it comes to the trial that is taking place in the country".

He added that he would discuss the possibility of suspending his duties as AU special envoy to Mali and the Sahel after the ruling.

"It is not for me to decide," he said.

Buyoya, an ethnic Tutsi, first came to power in Burundi in a coup in 1987.

He stepped down in 1993 in the country's first democratic elections in which Ndadaye, a Hutu, beat him resoundingly.

But hardline ethnic Tutsi soldiers killed Ndadaye just four months into the job.

His murder plunged the East African nation into years of civil war between the majority Hutus and minority Tutsis.

Buyoya became president again after a coup, ruling from 1996 to 2003.

The section of Monday's ruling seen by AFP does not give details on evidence given against Buyoya, nor his alleged role in the killing.

Buyoya has said his defence lawyers were blocked from accessing case files.

He also argued that the courts had already convicted the officers who killed Ndadaye. In 1998 a dozen low-ranking soldiers were convicted of the murder.

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Indigenous family's appeal to keep mother and baby out of jail .
Bronwyn Bianamu's father is at his wits' end as he worries about what will happen to her one-year-old daughter Philippa if she goes back to prison. "Aboriginal babies need their mothers, you can't separate them, and if she goes go to jail then it will be real hard for me and for her family members," he said.He is also worried by the alternative that his daughter could take his granddaughter back to prison with her."It's real bad, no baby should go and live in prison with their mother, they should be out in the environment.

usr: 1
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