Burundi: Death sentence for killers of WHO official
BUJUMBURA, 5 May (IRIN) - The Criminal Chamber of the Bujumbura Court of Appeal sentenced four senior army and police officers to death on Tuesday for the planning and execution of the World Health Organisation representative to Burundi, Kassy Manlan.
The convicts are Emile Manisha, a former police superintendent; Col Gerard Ntunzwenayo, the deputy director general of the Burundi Intelligence Service; Japhet Ndayegamiye, head of the Intelligence Service in Bujumbura City; and Capt Aloys Bizimana, who headed the army's Kiyange Brigade in Bujumbura Rural. They said they would appeal the sentence to Burundi's Supreme Court.
Manlan, an Ivorian, was killed on 19 November 2001. His body was found the following day on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. The motive for the killing has not been established.
The court also sentenced three others to life imprisonment and two to 20 years. Two private security guards posted at WHO's offices in Burumbura at the time of Kassy's death were sentenced to 10 years and two other guards at Kassy's home got two years.
All four of the men sentenced to death had been on the initial commission of inquiry set up to investigate Manlan's killing. The commission pinned responsibility on Kassy's secretary, Gertrude Nyamoya, and his assistant, Lamine Diara. The commission said the private security guards had carried out the killing.
Revelations during court hearings in May 2003 by one of the security guards accused of the murder led to the arrest of the four members of the commission in October 2003 and the subsequent release from detention of Nyamoya and Diara.
Manisha was found to have planned the murder, but according to Nyamoya's lawyer, Bernard Mainguin, the murder has not been fully solved.
"We have sentenced the killers and their accomplices but an important piece is still missing in this case - the mastermind," Mainguin told Radio Burundi on Wednesday.
He said the Burundi judicial system must "search for the truth without fear even if the name of former president has been cited".
In February, Mainguin had accused the former head of state Pierre Buyoya of having ordered the assassination.
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