Information transmitted to the Government
63. In a letter dated 26 August 1993 the Special Rapporteur advised the Government that he had received information according to which persons arrested for political reasons, especially those suspected of being members of the Hutu People's Liberation Party (PALIPEHUTU), were systematically beaten in detention centres run by the Gendarmerie and the Public Security Police. Methods of torture included: tying detainees' arms behind their backs so tightly that their elbows met and the ropes or cords cut into their arms - as a result, some prisoners developed gangrene and others suffered paralysis in their arms; beating on the soles of the feet, the back or the hands; being made to kneel for long periods, sometimes on bottle tops and pebbles; the use of bayonets, piping, truncheons or machetes to inflict injuries.
64. Reports also indicated that the authorities were not known to have taken any steps to prevent torture or to have ordered any independent and impartial investigation into allegations of torture. Court judges did not question the admissibility of statements made in custody as prosecution evidence, even though defendants had claimed to have made statements under duress or to have shown signs of injuries consistent with their allegations of torture. The 1992 Constitution banned torture; however, planned reforms of the Code of Penal Procedure reportedly gave little or no priority to safeguarding detainees against it. The individual cases described in the following paragraphs were dealt with.
65. Emmanuel Nkunzimana was said to have been severely beaten after his arrest in Gitega, in September 1991, by members of the security forces who accused him of membership of PALIPEHUTU. He was also reported to have had his genitals pierced with a sharp object.
66. Paul Hakizimana and Evariste Sinyirimana were arrested in August 1990 after an armed attack on Mabanda military barracks in the southern province of Makamba. Paul Hakizimana was reported to have had his legs and arms tied tightly behind his back and then been stabbed with bayonets; he was also allegedly beaten, subjected to mock execution and had his hair set alight. Evariste Sinyirimana allegedly had his genitals pierced with sharp pins and suffered temporary paralysis as a result of prolonged tying of his arms above the elbow. They were subsequently transferred from Mabanda barracks, first to Rumonge prison in the southwestern province of Bururi, and then to Mpimba prison, where they were allegedly beaten on arrival.
67. By the same letter the Special Rapporteur reminded the Government of another letter containing allegations which had been transmitted to it on 21 August 1992 and pointed out that no reply had been received so far.
68. The Special Rapporteur sent an urgent appeal to the Government on 21 April 1993 concerning Joseph Bangurambona, a representative of the Front for Democracy in Burundi for the Bujumbura rural region, arrested on 29 March 1993 by members of the Police Spéciale de Roulage. Fears were expressed that he might be subjected to torture.