Bujumbura, 14 July 2008 (FH) - The six persons charged for the murder in 2001 of Dr Kassi Manlan, Representative of World Health Organization (WHO) in Burundi, Monday were set free by the Supreme Court after being held in detention for nearly five years. The accused--Emile Manisha, Gerard Ntunzwenayo, Japhet Ndayegamiye, Aloys Bizimana, Expert Bihumugani and Athanase Bizindavyi— were held in detention following an appeal lodged by the state attorney.

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The acquitted have expressed their satisfaction over the Court’s decision, but have said that they have been victims of some people who conspired against them. “We are very happy that we have been set free, we have been waiting for this day for nearly five years… we were in prison following a conspiracy organized by people who wanted to protect real killers of Dr Manlan”, stated one of acquitted, Manisha, former commander of the Burundi police.
They have also said that they intend to claim compensation for their wrongful detention and would also file soon legal proceedings against the former Public Prosecutor, Gerard Ngendabanka.
Dr.Manlan was murdered in mid November, 2001 in the capital, Bujumbura. The WHO had earlier reported that Manlan, was missing after he had gone for an early morning run.
Police retrieved the deceased’s body near Lake Tanganyika with no clear reason for the death.
Mr Manlan came from Ivory Coast and had been working in Burundi for four months