The girls were charged last week with insulting the head of state and could spend up to five years in prison.
Burundian " King" "God" President Pierre Nkurunziza imprisons children, for doodle his "holy" photo.
Twitter users have rallied to the cause of three schoolgirls arrested for defacing photos of Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza by following their example.
Crudely doctored images of the leader are being circulated online under the hashtag, #FreeOurGirls.
HRW: "Authorities should focus on holding perpetrators of serious rights violations to account instead of jailing schoolchildren for doodles."
The three teenage schoolgirls in Burundi have been sent to prison to await trial for scribbling on a picture of President Pierre Nkurunziza in textbooks... The girls, aged 15, 16 and 17, face up to five years in prison for insulting the head of state if found guilty.
Judges said the three girls should be "prosecuted for contempt of the head of state", and ordered them to a juvenile section of a prison in the north of Burundi at Ngozi to await trial
It is not clear when they might face trial, but the father of one of the girls said they were already "too scared to eat", according to Lewis Mudge, from Human Rights Watch.
In 2016, several schoolchildren were handed prison sentences for similar scribbles on the president's face, and hundreds of pupils expelled, sparking an international outcry.
Below: Edited images of Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza. Social media users have been altering Burundian President the president's image. PHOTOS | TWITTER
The schoolgirls were arrested two weeks ago after the president's image was defaced in textbooks. Four other students arrested with them were later released.
Burundi has been in turmoil since Nkurunziza in April 2015 sought a fiercely-contested third term in office.
The violence has claimed at least 1,200 lives and displaced more than 400,000 people between April 2015 and May 2017, according to estimates by the International Criminal Court (ICC), which has opened an investigation.
"With so many real crimes being committed in Burundi, it's tragic that children are the ones being prosecuted for harmless scribbles," HRW's Mudge added.
HRW has urged the government to release the schoolgirls and concentrate on curbing abuses by the security forces.
"Authorities should focus on holding perpetrators of serious rights violations to account instead of jailing schoolchildren for doodles, the group's Central Africa director, Lewis Mudge, said.
Source: BBC / Twitter / Nation Kenya
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