A court in Burundi has charged 24 people with “homosexual practises.” This is part of the government’s crackdown on same-sex relationships in the conservative East African country, an anonymous source in the court system told AFP on Thursday.
Since 2009, Burundi has made it a crime to be gay. If you are found guilty, you could spend up to two years in prison.
On February 23, 2023, Burundian police arrested 17 men and 7 women at a seminar in the country’s political capital, Gitega, that was put on by MUCO Burundi, a non-profit that works on HIV/Aids. This happened because their neighbours told the security people that they were there.
Condoms were found with
Police said that the suspects were found with condoms and that they were suspected of being gay.
Armel Niyongere, head of the human rights group ACAT Burundi, said late Wednesday that after about ten days of questioning, the public prosecutor charged the 24 with homosexual practices and inciting others to do the same.
Niyongere, who is in exile in Belgium right now, said that they would be sent back to jail until their trial.
President Evariste Ndayishimiye of Burundi told his country’s people earlier this month to get rid of homosexuality.
“I want everyone in Burundi to curse those who are gay because God can’t stand it. They need to be kicked out of our country and treated like strangers “Ndayishimiye said in a speech.
Last month, intelligence agents in Burundi arrested five people who work for human rights. They were later charged with rebellion and undermining the country’s security.