Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Justin Zongo student death: Burkina Faso police jailed

Thousands of students demonstrate in the streets of Ouagadougou as they converge towards the ministry of education on May 23, 2011. At least six people died during weeks of unrest across Burkina Faso

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Three police officers have been sent to jail over their role in the February death of a Burkina Faso student, which sparked weeks of unrest.

Justin Zongo died after being assaulted while in police custody. The government initially said meningitis had caused his death, leading to widespread anger.

Protests - made worse by rising food prices - spread across the country, even leading to an army mutiny.

The unrest was seen as a major threat to Blaise Compaore's 24-year rule.

President Compaore sacked his government and replaced his security chiefs.

Two of the police officers were sentenced to 10 years in prison and another eight years for inciting his two subordinates.

A lawyer for Mr Zongo's family said it was good that "the police know they are obliged to respect human rights", reports the AFP news agency.

But the policemen's lawyer, Moumouny Kophio, said he was "extremely shocked and disappointed".

"I don't feel that justice was done."
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