Burundi schoolgirls receive social backing after defacing Pres. Pierre Nkurunziza in books

3 Burundi teen girls are under the mercy of law after doodling on the image of the president, but Twitter is not having it.

The now infamous trio has been in custody since March 12th 2019. But it seems the world’s keyboard warriors and social activists are keen to have the young girls released. Taken into custody for what could be termed as a silly joke, the teenagers could face serious jail time.

As many online share their two cents of the detention of the trio, it is inherently clear that the Burundi government may be taking this opportunity to make an example of some young, defenseless teens. Elected into office in 2005, President Pierre Nkurunziza’s no-nonsense leadership has survived a coup de ta as well as several bouts of resistance from dissatisfied citizens. Now serving his third term as president, Nkurunziza’s autocratic leadership continues to impede the rights and freedoms of the people of Burundi. If the social media posts are anything to go by, Nkurunziza’s extreme reaction to the schoolgirls silly joke only points to his insecurities as a leader.

According to the BBC, Twitter users have rallied to the cause of the schoolgirls arrested for defacing photos of Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza by following their example. Crudely doctored images of the leader are being circulated online under the hashtag, #FreeOurGirls.

The young girls who doodled in the textbooks were put in prison late last week (21.3.2019) for what would ordinarily be a school disciplinary matter. According to a report by Capital News, three teenage schoolgirls in Burundi had been sent to prison to await trial for scribbling on a picture of President Pierre Nkurunziza in textbooks. The girls, aged 15, 16 and 17, face up to five years in prison for insulting the head of state if found guilty.

Judges said the three girls should be “prosecuted for contempt of the head of state”, and ordered them to a juvenile section of a prison in the north of Burundi at Ngozi to await trial, said FENADEB, a civil society umbrella group of 48 organizations.

 

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