Burundian high school students charged with insulting President Pierre Nkurunziza were temporarily freed on Tuesday, their families and judicial sources said.
Eleven students in all had been charged on Friday with defacing the president’s photo in a school manual and held in jail in the central province of Muramvya.
“Six of the 11 high school students have just appeared before a judge and have been freed temporarily,” a judicial source said.
The six include three boys and three girls aged under 17 who now will face a special judicial process for minors, the sources said.
The five other students are aged above 18.
Insulting the president carries a potential jail term of five to 10 years, according to the country’s penal code.
A poor country in central Africa struggling with a legacy of ethnic conflict, Burundi plunged into crisis in April 2015 when Nkurunziza announced he was running for a third term, a vote he won last July amid opposition boycotts.
Violence has left more than 500 people dead and forced more than 270,000 Burundians to flee the country, according to the UN.