Schoolgirls Expelled after 6 days Detention for President’s Image doodling in Burundi

According to Human Rights Watch, authorities decided to expel three schoolgirls who were detained in Burundi for doodling on a picture of the President from the l’Ecofo Akamuri school in Kirundo province in Burundi’s north.

The girls, who are all minors, were detained for six days last month at Ngozi Central Prison and charged with “insulting the head of state,” President Pierre Nkurunziza, the rights agency said.
Their detention sparked worldwide anger with many taking to social media to post defaced pictures of Nkurunziza with the hashtag #FreeOurGirls.
A boy, who was not charged with any offenses but was arrested as part of the initial group of seven, and another girl were also expelled, HRW’s Central Africa director Lewis Mudge said
“It’s good news they were released, but the charges still haven’t been dropped, and they have now been expelled from school,” Mudge said.
“This is affecting their right to an education.”
“As stipulated by the school regulations in Article 31 paragraph 28, these five students are permanently expelled from school,” the letter read.
The letter, signed by the school’s director Isaie Nkinzingabo, also stated that the students will have to enroll at another school in the following academic year.
Mudge said the rights group doesn’t know why the boy was expelled from school as he was not among those initially charged.
“This demonstrates the way schools are being politicized in Burundi,” Mudge said.
“It also shows there are some individuals who are saying that this is such an intolerable act they feel the need to permanently expel these children.”