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Rwanda: FDU blames police torture after Muhirwa faints in court

July 11, 2010

by Ann Garrison

Ms. Alice Muhirwa, treasurer of the FDU-Inkingi Party and mother of two, outside a Kigali courtroom, where she fainted on July 8. FDU-Inkingi Party leader Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza reports that Muhirwa fainted due to bleeding caused by torture, after being denied medical treatment. – Photo: FDU-Inkingi Party
FDU-Inkingi Party leader and presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire reported that the FDU’s treasurer, Alice Muhirwa, mother of two, fainted in a Rwandan courtroom Wednesday, July 7, due to untreated torture wounds inflicted by the Rwandan police.

Ms. Muhirwa and other FDU-Inkingi Party members and members of Rwanda’s P.S.-Imberakuri Party are charged with endangering the state by protesting and with genocide ideology, a vague crime unique to Rwanda which means, essentially, disagreeing with the official history of the Rwanda Genocide and incumbent Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

The FDU reported that Rwandan police turned down many requests to take Ms. Muhirwa to a hospital to be treated for bleeding caused by boot kicks to the stomach. However, after she fainted in court, they allowed supporters to take her outside the crowded courtroom, where a nurse and supporter, Ms. Ntavuka, held her until she was taken to a hospital. Ms. Ntavuka’s husband, Martin Ntavuka, is among the FDU Party members in prison and on trial.

Yesterday morning a lawyer had unsuccessfully attempted to arrange bail to let Ms. Muhirwa see her doctor.

The FDU-Inkingi has been attempting to register as a political party and to register Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza’s candidacy for the Rwandan presidency since mid-January. Many observers believe that Ingabire would win the election if she were allowed to register and run, but instead she was arrested on April 21, although she was released on bail, unlike Ms. Muhirwa and other FDU-Inking Party officers and members, all of whom were arrested on June 24 protesting the party’s exclusion from the upcoming election.

Rwandan police arrested Bernard Ntaganda, founder and presidential candidate of Rwanda’s Parti Social-Imberakuri, on the morning of April 24 after he called for a protest of the opposition’s exclusion from the election, saying, “Silence is acceptance.” A Kigali judge denied him bail on July 9, despite his visible weakness due to hunger strike. – Photo: Parti Social-Imberakuri
P.S.-Imberakuri Party leader Bernard Ntaganda was arrested before leaving his Kigali home for the same demonstration, which he had called, urging that “silence is acceptance.” Other P.S.-Imberakuri Party officers remain missing.

On the same day, Umuvugizi journalist Jean Leonard Rugambage was gunned down and killed outside his home in Kigali, after reporting that President Paul Kagame had ordered the recent assassination attempt on exile Rwandan Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa in South Africa.

The U.S. and the U.K. have been the dominant foreign powers in Rwanda and the wider East and Central African region, including the resource rich Democratic Republic of the Congo, since the 1994 Rwanda Genocide, and both the U.S. and the Commonwealth have promised to send “election observers” to Rwanda’s Aug. 9 polls. Many Rwandans now ask, however, what election observers will have to observe. “What is there for them to do but waste money and go visit the gorilla park?” asked Didas Gasana, banned Umuseso newspaper editor, earlier this year before fleeing to Uganda.

Umuvugizi journalist Jean Leonard Rugambage was buried after a memorial service in Kigali on Saturday, June 26. Rugambage was gunned down outside his home in Kigali on June 24. – Photo: Courtesy Jean Bosco Gasasira, Umuvugizi editor
Now Gasana and others, including Gasana’s fellow Umuseso editor Charles Kabonero, who has also fled to Uganda, say that the only meaningful election observing and reporting that the U.S. and U.K. could do would be at the trials of excluded and arrested presidential candidates Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza and Bernard Ntaganda and their fellow FDU-Inkingi and P.S.-Imberakuri Party members and in the prisons where they are being tortured.

On May 28, Burundi, Rwanda’s southern neighbor which mirrors its politics, ethnic tensions and international allegiances, held a presidential election with only one candidate, the incumbent President Pierre Nkurunziza on the ballot and very low voter turnout. European Union election observers noted the absence of choice but said that Burundians had done a good job of completing election procedures. The leading opposition candidate, Agathon Rwasa, had withdrawn and fled to D.R. Congo before the polls.

Charles Kabonero, journalist for Rwanda’s banned Umuseso newspaper, fled to Uganda earlier this year, before Umuvugizi editor Jean Leonard Rugembage was slain by gunmen in Kigali. – Photo: Phil Carpenter
“Rwanda’s electoral commission has certified only four candidates,” says Aimable Mugara, a Rwandan exile, writer, blogger and activist now living in Ottawa, Canada, who survived Rwanda’s 1994 massacres. “The candidates are Gen. Kagame and three of his political friends, who have never ever criticized the ruling party for anything. This means that the people of Rwanda have no choice whatsoever. No choice means no election.

“Therefore, foreign election observers planning to go to Rwanda to observe the ‘election’ this August are wasting time and money. I would recommend that they stay in their countries and write their reports based on all the insane actions Gen. Kagame’s ruling party has taken since the beginning of this year, actions that make this so-called election null and void.”

Rwandan exile, writer and activist Aimable Mugara says that incumbent President Kagame will do anything to remain in power so as to avoid indictment for war crimes and crimes against humanity. – Photo: Courtesy Aimable Mugara
Mugara also points out that 40 of President Kagame’s top officers have been indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity by Spanish and French courts, which refrained from indicting Kagame only because he is a sitting head of state, so indicting him would be tantamount to a declaration of war, and Kagame must therefore stay in power, at whatever cost, to avoid indictment himself.

“He is doing everything he can think of including killing journalists, jailing and torturing political opponents, and denying political opponents their constitutional right to register their parties to exclude them from the election. Because as soon as he loses the presidency, he is likely to be tried for all the mass killings he ordered.”

San Francisco writer Ann Garrison writes for the San Francisco Bay View, Digital Journal, Examiner.com, OpEdNews, Global Research, Colored Opinions and her blog, Plutocracy Now. She can be reached at anniegarrison@gmail.com. This story first appeared in Digital Journal.

5 thoughts on “Rwanda: FDU blames police torture after Muhirwa faints in court

  1. Ema

    Kagame is getting out control. Unless the USA, his Master, talk to him to stop doing this sh!t, he will be destroying Rwanda not only socially, but politically and economically.

    Kagame really cares less of Rwanda people. Rwanda People need to unite against him before it's too late.

    Reply
  2. Gigi

    So you seriously think people will believe that this woman in the photo was not acting? Next time before you take a photo of a ‘torture victim,’ tell, please rememeber to tell the ‘attendant’ not to smile.Ohterwise this would serve as a good Red Cross first aid demo. keep it up Garisson

    Reply
  3. Gigi

    Emma, yes, people are – united, not against him but behind him because he has done for Rwanda what no other person will ever do – revive and try to unite Rwanda. All of you are mere barking dogs with your own reasons of resentment for Kagame, maybe because he overthrew your extremist regime therefore leaving you out in the cold. But if you were not guilty of atrocities, you would find Rwanda a place for you and your families. But then there is your guilt to deal with and there is nothing that can be done for you apart from producing you before justice

    Reply
  4. Ema

    Gigi,

    Are you that stupid to think that anyone who is against Kagame is a Hutu? Sorry to tell you this, I am a Rwandan Tutsi and lost some of my relatives in 1994. Just look at those Generals in his inner cycle that left him.

    The reasons I despise Kagame so much is that it has been 16 years already since Genocide, and he has failed to promote freedom of speech and build stronger democratic institutions.

    Listen to me, dumbass, my friends(90% of them) didn't die in vain in front. While you are loyal to a person, I am more loyal to my country and its democratic institutions and worry about the lives of the future generations.

    I have lived in the USA for more than 10 years and I can tell that you are a reflection of these right-winger republicans who worshipped Bush during his 8 years in power and even re-elected him to destroy not only the USA Economy but killed one million of Iraqis. So, don't get me started about the Genocide of 7 millions of Congolese that Kagame unleashed, with the help of his foreign masters, to steal coltan from Zaire.

    Reply
  5. Aimable

    The Vice President of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, Mr. Andre KAGWA RWISEREKA was found dead in Rwanda. His head was almost completely decapitated from his body. Today's Rwanda is a very sad place indeed.

    Reply

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