Friday, January 20, 2012

Tanzania: Mystery and Politics Surround Arrest of One of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People - Arrested by Tanzanian Police

SOURCE Bryan Rich

The following statement has been issued by Bryan Rich, Producer and Director of Breaking the Codes in Burundi:

The Government of Tanzania has arrested journalist turned human rights defender and opposition politician Alexis Sinduhije without formal charges. He has been detained for almost a week with no legal explanation for his arrest. A senior police official in Tanzania has indicated that Tanzania arrested the Burundian opposition leader at the request of the Burundian government.

The government of Burundi denies they requested his arrest and instead said it was a matter of Tanzania's. The spokesperson for the Burundian government indicated to local reporters in a statement that "the authorities that arrested him are the police authorities of Tanzania and it is up to them to follow the dossier."

Mr. Sinduhije was voted one of Time Magazine's top 100 most influential people in 2008 -,28804,1733748_1733756_1735247,00.html - and his work as an investigative reporter is the subject of a feature documentary still in production which captures in camera confessions of genocide by both Hutu and Tutsi youth.

Mr. Sinduhije is regarded by many as the only credible opposition to the current Burundian government who arrested and imprisoned him in 2008 prior to the last elections. As an investigative reporter Sinduhije exposed massacres by Hutu and Tutsi factions during his country's civil war and was awarded a Shorenstein fellowship at Harvard University for his work as a reporter in Burundi and featured on Ted Koppel's Nightline.

In his transition from investigative reporter to politician, Mr. Sinduhije has been an outspoken critic of the current government on issues of corruption and lack of reform. Many regard his arrest as an attempt to derail the democratic process in Burundi by removing a key opposition leader from the pool of potential presidential candidates.

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