March 18, 2009 / 2:35 PM / 10 years ago

Burundi frees editor held for defaming president

BUJUMBURA (Reuters) - A Burundi court has freed editor Jean Claude Kavumbagu, who was arrested last year for allegedly defaming President Pierre Nkurunziza, the journalist’s lawyer said on Wednesday.

Kavumbagu, who runs news agency Net Press, was arrested in September for publishing an article that said the president and his entourage spent $100,000 visiting China for the opening of the Olympic games.

“My client Jean Claude Kavumbagu has won the trial,” said Gabriel Sinarinzi, Kavumbagu’s lawyer.

Government spokesman Philippe Nzobonariba declined to comment.

Earlier this month, another Bujumbura court freed Alexis Sinduhije, a prominent former journalist who had been jailed for insulting the president.

Sinduhije founded a political party in 2007 and was named in Time magazine’s 2008 list of the 100 most influential people in the world, under the category “Heroes & Pioneers”.

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