On Sunday, the Internal Affairs Ministry confirmed the deportation of Ntwari Regis Marie to Burundi, despite a court order prohibiting his deportation. The ministry’s assistant spokesperson, Arithea Nakiwala, shared this information during a phone interview on Tuesday.
Nakiwala explained that although a court order was issued on Friday, October 13, 2023, restraining Ntwari’s deportation, there was an existing order from the Minister of Internal Affairs that mandated the deportation. The court order had been directed to the Director of INTERPOL Uganda and the Attorney General, not to the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control, which needed official communication from the Attorney General to dismiss the deportation order issued by the minister.
It was emphasized that Ntwari had sought asylum in an attempt to avoid arrest for alleged crimes, even though official documents indicated that he had been granted a certificate of asylum on January 17, 2023, before the alleged charges were made. The ministry’s deputy spokesperson clarified that Ntwari had not assumed refugee status in Uganda and, therefore, was not immune to deportation. His asylum status was still valid until November 19, 2023.
Ntwari’s lawyer, Gawaya Tegulle, was working to secure his client’s release, but Hervine Sindayigaya, Ntwari’s wife, expressed her distress, mentioning the lack of official communication regarding her husband’s deportation. As a refugee in Uganda, she is not permitted to travel back to Burundi.
Before his deportation, Ntwari had been detained in police cells for several days and was accused of theft, with specific details of the charges not provided in the police bond. Documents revealed that INTERPOL Burundi had requested Ntwari’s arrest and extradition for an alleged breach of trust involving $630,000. Ntwari had worked for Ngendakumana Arsene in a gold trading business in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he reported a robbery involving a significant quantity of gold and money.
Additionally, a letter from the prosecutor general of Burundi stated that Ntwari was being prosecuted for breach of trust, a criminal offense under Article 308 of the Burundian penal code.
Sindayigaya denied these allegations, claiming that her husband was being pursued for political reasons and had sought asylum in Uganda before facing these charges. She mentioned that her husband had received his secondary and university education in Uganda and that their marriage had taken place in Uganda.
Official documents confirmed that Ntwari had obtained a certificate of asylum on January 17, 2023, with multiple renewals, set to expire on November 19, 2023.