BURUNDI FREES POLICE ON DEATH ROW FOR MURDER
June 13, 2008: Burundi's High Court freed four former senior policemen who were sentenced to death for the murder of a World Health Organisation official in 2001.
It also released two other men jailed for 20 years for the same crime, lawyers said. 'We are happy because we said in all our early pleadings that there was no strong evidence for the charges against our clients,' lawyer Deogratias Nzeyimana said.
A High Court judge who asked not to be named said the six men were freed because two key witnesses who were in custody had escaped from jail and were no longer in the country.
The WHO representative, Kassy Manlan of Ivory Coast, was killed at his home and his body was later found by fishermen on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in November 2001.
At the time, lawyers said Manlan had been murdered to stop him investigating suspected embezzlement of funds meant for buying medicine to combat malaria in Burundi. (Sources: Reuters, 13/06/2008)