Four journalists in Burundi were charged on Monday with breaching state security and denied bail, according to local media reports.
The driver of the journalists also faces the same charges.
The court hearing in Bubanza, in western Burundi, was their first appearance in public since their arrest on Oct. 22.
He also called on the judge to deny them the right to vote for five years.
The reporters, two females and two males from the Iwacu media group were arrested in Musigati District where they had traveled to report on an armed attack by anti-government rebels.
In November, when a court decided to keep the Iwacu journalists in detention, many organizations including Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists said they were disappointed by the Burundian justice’s decision.
The reporters and their driver were represented in court by three lawyers.
“We are satisfied with the way the hearing was conducted. The court allowed all parties to express themselves and gave us enough time to defend them,” Clement Retirakiza, one of the lawyers, told journalists covering the hearing.
Last week, President Pierre Nkurunziza commented on the case against the journalists when asked about it at a public conference.
“I will only suggest that they should find lawyers who can help them. If I interfere with the justice’s decisions, it would be undermining the independence of the justice system,” said Nkurunziza.