Tortured, harassed, and driven into exile to save his family

06.06.2016 ( Last modified: 01.02.2018 )

One morning in 2006 as he was leaving his house, Alain (not his real name) found himself eye to eye with about twenty policemen who had come to arrest him. Immediately taken to the police station, he was – wrongly – accused of preparing a coup d’état.

Faced with his refusal to acknowledge the false allegations, the agents beat him. Alain was severely beaten and lashed across his entire body with various steel and wooden objects. The beating continued until the victim, exhausted and bruised, gave in to this violent blackmail by signing an acknowledgment of his guilt.

This statement, obtained under torture, warranted the victim’s detention for many months under appalling conditions. When finally brought before a judge, Alain was released because of lack of evidence.

He continued to be persecuted after his release, however. The day after his release, physical and mental torture gave way to psychological harassment. The victim and his family were subjected to death threats and intense surveillance. These threats ultimately forced them to flee the country.

Procedure

The judge in charge of the case against Alain was repeatedly informed of the acts of torture of which Alain had been a victim, in vain.

Neither the support from tens of Burundian and international human rights NGOs nor the intervention of the United Nations succeeded in changing the situation.

In view of the national justice system’s inaction, TRIAL International helped Alain file a complaint before the United Nations. It upheld Alain’s complaint, calling upon the State to afford reparation to the victim for the acts of torture that he had suffered.

To this day, Alain has received no compensation for the torture he suffered more than eleven years ago.