2009burundi_special_enInternational: A Vietnamese telecommunications worker in Burundi was arrested and released after paying only a fine for same sex relations in the southeast African nation that has strict anti-gay laws and jail time punishments.

The Burundian human rights organization MOLI (Movement for Individual Liberties) said the Vietnamese man was let of lightly due to several procedural and legal flaws in the handling of the case.

The man was arrested after being denounced by a former partner rather than for being caught in the act, as the law requires. Also, the case was handled by a court that lacks the authority to act on cases involving potential punishments of two years in prison.

The worker was charged for engaging in illegal “homosexual practices,” according to a 76crimes.com report citing MOLI.

The Vietnamese man, whose name was not disclosed, was released Sept. 19 after paying a fine of 100,000 Burundian francs (US $64), MOLI said adding that he was the first person convicted under Burundi’s anti-gay law of 2009.

The man was arrest on Sept. 16 in northern Burundi, the incident being reported by Agence France-Presse and which said that the Vietnamese national was arrested after he was found with a Burundian partner.

Richard Nzokirantevye, the governor of Karuzi Province who spoke to AFP was quoted as saying that  the Burundian partner escaped and is sought by police

Burundian law prohibits same-sex relations that is punishable by three months to two years in prison and/or a fine of 50,000 to 100,000 Burundian francs (US $32 to $64). The law was enacted in 2009.

Source: 76crimes.com

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