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Burundi: Former PM bail release denied by Supreme Court

Burundi's new prime minister Alain-Guillaume Bunyoni attends the national funeral of late Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza in Gitega, Burundi, on June 26, 2020.   -  
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Alain-Guillaume Bunyoni, Burundi's former prime minister, accused of undermining national security and whose trial opened late in September, has been kept in pre-trial detention, according to sources close to the case.

During his trial held in prison before the Supreme Court, Bunyoni denounced the terrible conditions of his detention and asked to be released on bail.

A request denied by the judicial authority on Monday.

Arrested last April in the economic capital Bujumbura, on the eve of his 51st birthday, Bunyoni, who had been Prime Minister since June 2020, was dismissed in September 2022, a few days after President Evariste Ndayishimiye had denounced plans for a coup.

Mr. Bunyoni had long been regarded as the regime's real number two and the leader of the hardliners among the generals working behind the scenes.

He is accused of undermining the internal security of the State, undermining the smooth running of the national economy, and personal enrichment.

He is also accused of illegal possession of weapons and insulting the President.

A close ally of former president Pierre Nkurunziza, Mr. Bunyoni was an influential figure in the ruling CNDD-FDD party.

While the international community has welcomed a certain opening-up of the country since Evariste Ndayishimiye came to power in June 2020 following the sudden death of Pierre Nkurunziza, a UN commission of inquiry stated in September 2021 that the human rights situation in Burundi remained "disastrous".

Landlocked in the Great Lakes region, Burundi is the world's poorest country in terms of GDP per capita, according to the World Bank.

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