Floriane Irangabiye is a journalist and single mother of two. In August 2022, her world was turned upside down when she was arrested on a family visit to Burundi. Convicted on trumped-up charges, she remains in prison where she is serving a 10 year sentence for doing her job, and exercising her human rights.

Floriane was born and raised in Burundi, but moved to Rwanda over a decade ago. At the time of her arrest, she had been regularly hosting a show at a Burundian online radio station called Radio Igicaniro.

During her trial, the prosecution presented comments made during the broadcasting of the show where Floriane and her guests criticised the government of Burundi. On 2 January 2023, she was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and a fine of one million Burundian francs for “undermining the integrity of the national territory.”

This trip was the first time Floriane had visited her family in Burundi since 2015 -  a time when Burundians took to the streets in protest, after the former president decided to run for a third term. The government responded with repression - civil society and media organisations were among its first targets. The government suspended and closed most independent human rights organisations and media outlets, driving them into exile. Today, the media continues to be viewed with suspicion - and severe restrictions on human rights remain in place.

According to Floriane’s family, she loves traditional music, and spending time with her family and friends. She desperately misses her 10 year old daughter and 7 year old son - playing with them, and going out to the lake. 

Floriane is being prosecuted solely for her work as a journalist, and peacefully exercising freedom of expression - a human right. Please call on the Burundian authorities to immediately and unconditional release her now, so she can be reunited with her children in safety.

Sign the Petition

  Our Petition

Mme Domine Banyankimbona
Minister of Justice
PO Box: 1880
Bujumbura, BURUNDI

Dear Minister,

I am appalled by the conviction and arbitrary detention of journalist, Floriane Irangabiye who on 2 January 2023 was sentenced to 10 years in prison and a one million Burundian francs fine by the High Court of Mukaza in Bujumbura for “undermining the integrity of the national territory.”. Her lawyers appealed this decision on 23 January.

Floriane Irangabiye was arrested on 30 August 2022 while visiting family in Bujumbura, the former capital of Burundi. She was held without being formally charged until October 2022. During the trial, the prosecution presented comments made during the broadcasting of a show, in August 2022, on Radio Igicaniro, a Burundian online media outlet where she and her guests criticised the government of Burundi. In an audio recording of the show retrieved by the prosecutor, she purportedly said: “the population is resigned to the evils of the leaders of Burundi, citizens do not express themselves for fear of being killed, we call on Burundians to brave the fear.” The prosecution also presented as evidence photos of her posing with President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and former President Pierre Buyoya at public events. She was also accused of participating in meetings held by Burundian youths in exile in Rwanda.

In September 2022, she was transferred to the Muyinga Prison, in the northern province of Muyinga, where she remains held.

Floriane Irangabiye’s unfair prosecution is motivated by continuous efforts by Burundian authorities to clamp down on peaceful dissent, despite multiple promises by President Evariste Ndayishimiye to improve the country's human rights situation. Her conviction and ongoing arbitrary detention are in violation of her rights to freedom of expression and fair trial.

I urge you to instruct the Prosecutor General of the Republic to ensure that Floriane Irangabiye is immediately and unconditionally released. Authorities must quash the conviction and drop all charges against her.

Yours sincerely,

[Your name]