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Prosecution wants to keep forever in prison ‘an honest Citizen’-Kavumbagu’s lawyer

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Jean Claude Kavumbagu

By Jean Pierre Ndikumana and Robert Mugabe

To contact the authors: editor@greatlakesvoice.com

BUJUMBURA-Kavumbagu case was again taken under advisement after his appearance before the Criminal Chamber of the Tribunal de Grande Instance of the Municipality of Bujumbura Wednesday, April 13, 2011 after the hearing that took almost four hours.

The prosecutor confirmed and signed; Kavumbagu is guilty of treason. For the Deputy Public Prosecutor “This is high treason because the offending article which was published in the on-line publication Net Press cannot be construed otherwise than a deliberate attempt to demoralize the Burundian army and police at the time where she was under terrorist threat.

The hearing is a part of Jean Claude Kavumbagu’s article that questioned the ability of Burundian forces of defense and security to cope with a possible attack on Burundi Shebbab Somalis. The prosecution holds the stand-in but, had no easy task to prove to court that Burundi is at war.

For the defense, citing the provisions of the Penal Code, one can-not invoke high treason in time of war and only the president has the prerogative to declare war and sign the armistice, which is not the case and that therefore means that so far there was not and still no war in Burundi.

One of the lawyers of Kavumbagu, the Belgian Bernard Maingain, deplores the fact that the prosecution wants to keep forever in prison an honest citizen who “has merely expressed his opinion.”

While acknowledging that there is no declaration of war from the Head of State, the Crown has certified that the terrorists have declared war on Somalia in Burundi. What lawyer disapproves Maingain by proving, among other things, that even if war was imposed on Burundi in one form or another, Burundi has seized the Security Council of the UN, which has not been done.

The Belgian lawyer rejects the coup, the concept of war as “cold” or “psychological” to which the Deputy Public Prosecutor referred facing the threat of terrorism hanging over Burundi. For him, these are the notions of language allowable current in a trial where they say the right. This did not prove that the country is at war, otherwise the whole of Europe is at war because the threat of terrorism is almost constant.

At the end, the prosecution requested a life sentence against Jean Claude Kavumbagu while his lawyers sought his acquittal because, they said, none of the charges against him finds no legal basis. The verdict is expected in in 60 days.

The family of the editor of Net Press notes that there is still some progress in the file. The merit of the case was discussed during Wednesday’s hearing. “The Defence Counsel has shown that Burundi is not at war based on the constitution which states that the Head of State has the prerogative to declare war, which is not the case.

In other words, the crime of treason committed in time of war under the Criminal Code does not apply to Jean Claude, “said Jean-Marie Vianney Kavumbagu, brother of Jean-Claude Kavumbagu.

The Editor of Netpress is behind bars since July 17 in Central Prison Mpimba for an article published in his online publication.

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