Burundi bows to international pressure and releases 3 schoolgirls arrested for doodling on the picture of president Nkurunziza

Burundian refugee school girls cry as they listen to Pakistani Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala at the Mahama refugee camp, Rwanda.
  • The girls, aged 15, 16 and 17 have been in prison since March 12.
  • The girls were accused of defacing photographs of President Pierre Nkurunziza in five textbooks belonging to their school.
  • The case quickly garnered international international after Human rights activists in the country decried the inhumane move.

Burundi has bowed to international pressure and released three schoolgirls who had been detained for doodling on the picture of the president.

The girls, aged 15, 16 and 17 have been in prison since March 12, when they were arrested with three other schoolgirls and a 13-year old boy.

The boy was released immediately because he was below the age of criminal responsibility, while the three girls were released without charge.

The girls were accused of defacing photographs of President Pierre Nkurunziza in five textbooks belonging to their school, but teachers pointed out that the books are shared among all the pupils as there are not enough for everyone to have their own.

The case quickly garnered international international after Human rights activists in the country decried the inhumane move.

Their detention led to a social media campaign under the hashtag #FreeOurGirls, with people posting on Twitter images of the president defaced with clown wigs and twirly images.

Burundi’s Justice Minister Aimée Laurentine Kanyana has now said all the teenage girls have been released.

"We call on parents to strengthen the education of their children. We remind children that they have to respect authorities, that the age of criminal responsibility is 15," she told state broadcaster RTNB.

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