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Rwanda: Kagame tortures opposition, arrests Ingabire’s new lawyer

July 2, 2010

by Ann Garrison

Rwandan President Paul Kagame – Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Rwandan opposition leaders Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza and Frank Habineza report ongoing torture of opposition party members arrested in Kigali on June 24, 2010, as they attempted to protest exclusion from this year’s presidential election.

Ingabire is the presidential candidate of Rwanda’s FDU-Inkingi Party, Habineza of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda.

Ingabire also reports that her Rwandan lawyer, Mr. Theogene Muhayeyezu, has been arrested, tortured and detained incommunicado. Yesterday her former U.S. lawyer, Peter Erlinder, and his Kenyan lawyers, Kennedy Ogeto and Otachi Gershom, addressed the Chicago Chapter of the National Lawyers’ Guild about the meaning of Erlinder’s three weeks incarceration in Rwanda after traveling there to defend Ingabire against charges of “genocide ideology,” which he called “trumped up charges” and “thought crime.” Rwanda’s genocide ideology statutes ban disagreement with the official version of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide or, many say, disagreement with sitting President Paul Kagame.

Rwandan police arrested hundreds of opposition party members on June 24, including presidential candidate Bernard Ntaganda. Ntaganda had called for the day’s protest, saying that “silence is acceptance” of the opposition’s exclusion from the election. He remains in prison and two other P.S. Imberakuri Party officers, including the secretary general, have disappeared.

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, presidential candidate of Rwanda’s FDU-Inkingi Party, whom Peter Erlnder flew to Rwanda to defend against charges he is now facing himself. She has been warned that she will be arrested again if she continues to speak to the press, and now her Rwandan lawyer, Theogene Muhayeyezu, has been arrested as well. – Photo: FDU-Inkingi Party
No candidates who’ve been allowed to run against Kagame in the election now heading for Aug. 9 polls have the remotest chance of defeating him; most observers describe them as faux candidates who agreed to run so as to make Kagame’s re-election look credible. Banned Umuseso newspaper editors Didas Gasana and Charles Kabonero, both of whom have fled to Uganda to escape imprisonment themselves, say that election observers from the U.K. and the U.S. can do no more than validate a sham.

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza of the United Democratic Forces reports from Kigali that the opposition members still under arrest are being held in cells, handcuffed day and night and tortured, with the following consequences:

“1. Ms. Alice MUHIRWA, the FDU-Inkingi Party Treasurer, is still bleeding due to boots kicks into her stomach. She has been denied access to a medical doctor.

“2. Mr. Sylvain SIBOMANA, the FDU Secretary General, needs an urgent X-Ray after being beaten hard several times with legs and arms tied behind his back.

“3. Mr. Theoneste SIBOMANA, FDU Party Leader in Kigali, needs to be evaluated for head injury, possibly a concussion, after his head was banged on the wall many times.

Rwandan Police arrested Bernard Ntaganda, presidential candidate of the dissident wing of Rwanda’s Parti Social-Imberakuri, on the morning of April 24 before he could leave his home to attend a protest of the opposition’s exclusion from the election, which he had called, saying, “Silence is acceptance.” – Photo: Parti Social-Imberakuri
“4. Maitre Theogene MUHAYEYEZU, the new defense lawyer for Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, the party’s chair and presidential candidate, has been tortured after arrest and detained incommunicado.

“5. The medical condition of the party member Martin NTAVUKA is not known.”

The U.S. Embassy is next door to Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s offices, and the U.S. and the U.K. are the dominant foreign powers in the region and the most generous donors to the Rwandan government. Opposition leaders Habineza and Ingabire have both called on the U.S. and the U.K. to make real democracy and respect for human rights in Rwanda a condition of their ongoing support.

Umuseso editor Didas Gasana said, “I would like the American people to know that their tax dollars are not going to build hospitals and schools, but to support one of the most brutal dictatorships in Africa.”

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.

0 thoughts on “Rwanda: Kagame tortures opposition, arrests Ingabire’s new lawyer

  1. Chantal Kalisa

    Does Miss Garrison understands Kinyarwanda, then she should have listened to Ingabire's interview to BBC this morning where she contradicted herself and could not come up with evidence when asked. Journalism at its lowest relying on one side basing on hearsay, gossip and totally missing rwandan codes of division. Please revisit popular media before genocide and take Kinyarwanda lessons. Those of us to travel to Rwanda see a much more complex picture and your favorite candidate uses of human rights bylines that are ahistorical. My american students that I take to Rwanda can make better opposing candidates than your than Miss Ingabire.

    Reply
    1. Theodore Sekomb

      Hey Chantal Kalisa,

      Is the issue here making a good candidate or abuse of human rights?
      I am not from Rwanda but I don't understand the argument you're making here. We don't need to speak Kinyarwanda to defend people who are under abusive governments. Any candidate makes mistake. Rwanda should focus on governance that will benefit all, Tutsi, Tutu and Twa. The Tutsi in FPR accused the Habyarimana government of excuding them from power, now what is being done in Rwanda is the same, Tutsi with Paul Kagame are eliminating any potential Hutu politician…This means they're preparing a cycle of another ethnic conflict, what is a shame for Rwanda. It is not good for Rwanda and the Great Lake Region to go backward this way…Lack of Democracy in Rwanda is a danger for the Great Lake Region. As

      Reply
  2. jean Nepo

    @ Chantal Kalisa:
    Please be reminded that Ms Ann Garrison is doing a wonderful job aimed at exposing RPF lie propaganda and promoting democracy and respect of human rights in Rwanda. I am Rwandan, speak Kinyarwanda and listen to BBC-Gahuzamiryango on a daily basis.
    I am however puzzled at how a so-called Rwandan scholar in the US (claim to have American students) who may surely know that on Saturdays the BBC-Gahuzamiryango (Kinyarwanda program) only airs the “IMVO N’IMVANO” documentary could claim that Mrs Ingabire was on the BBC-Gahuzamiryango today (Saturday July 3, 2010) while she was not.
    Indeed, today’s topic at the BBC-Gahuzamiryango “Imvo n’imvano” documentary was about the 50th Independence Anniversary of the DRC celebrated on June 30, 2010.
    Please keep your lies and misleading comment with yourself. I challenge you to prove me otherwise.

    Reply
  3. Nzi Nink

    As far as Rwanda’s presidential elections are concerned, the World deserves to know that should a free and fair election be held in Rwanda, Kagame would hardly get 5% of the votes. Kagame knows this unfortunate reality and this iswhy he is truly afraid of any real opposition candidate such as Victoire Ingabire (FDU-UDF-Inkingi), Bernard Ntaganda (PS-Imberakuri), Frank Habineza (Green Party) and rather prefers stooge candidates such as Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo, the current Deputy Speaker of Rwanda’s Parliament (PSD) and Prosper Higiro, Rwanda’s current Senate Vice-President (PL).

    Reply
  4. Panzer Bob

    Something really stinks here, much stirring of a pot that needs to be left for the time being. Kagame is maybe not a perfect solution, but I have seen the evil unleashed there and Rwanda has recovered much under Kagame. Candidates and Lawyers who are revisionist and genocide naysayers arriving in Rwanda knowing full well the law on revisionsm there are only there to cause problems, KNOWING they would be arrested. Bad move on their part. We shall see what happens.

    Reply
  5. Jean Nepo

    @Panzer Bob:
    According to Rev. Martin Luther King Jr: "Everything Hitler did was legal in Germany". Kagame's rubbish law on genocide ideology is meant to stifle opponents and should be denounced with our strongest energy.Democratic principles and genuine respect of basic humanan rights is a prerequesite to sustainable economic developement in Rwanda.
    To find out what was the economic situation in Rwanda before the war that Kagame launched in 1990, reports from IMF and WB are more than eloquent: "Rwanda, an epitome of economic development in Africa".
    What ever today's economic recovery is, it is far away from reaching where it was before the war, in term of social welfare, high literacy rate, low unemployment rate, economic infrastructures, and so on…

    Reply
  6. Ann Garrison

    @Chantal Kalisa: Note that I wrote “Rwandan opposition leaders Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza and Frank Habineza report ongoing torture of opposition party members. . . ,” not “Ann Garrison says.”

    Anyone who wants to know what the Kagame regime says about this or anything else can read The New Times daily and The New Times dutifully republished in allAfrica.com, with its headquarters in Washington D.C. The voices of Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza and Frank Habineza are never in The New Times outlet without gross distortion, and very rarely in allAfrica.com without the same.

    And, if only Kinyarwanda speakers were to report on Rwanda, then the West would know almost nothing of the country, and Americans would know nothing of the country that they have contributed $1,034,000,000 billion in United States taxpayer-funded foreign assistance to since 2000, with an additional $240,200,000 proposed in the President’s fiscal year 2011 budget. Or of the country where AFRICOM, the U.S. Africa Command, recently held a conference to plan an August exercise in the Gulf of Guinea.

    Reply
  7. ForeignerInRwanda

    Rwanda is just a small country with a small mentality, a bit like Belgium.the solution might be just to divide it proportionally (a hutu land and a tutsi land).Otherwise another tragedy might be inevitable.What is clear is the Kagame's regime days are numbered I am afraid.

    Reply
  8. KANAMUGIRE

    @Chantal is another nkotanyi with a narrow mind who will die in regret because she still harbors that old mentality of tutsi supremacy your time will come and go back where you belong.why divide Rwanda into two?14% was given 40% they refused it when Rwandans decide they wont even get that 5% useless

    Reply
  9. Ndahari Bugufi

    It is at last gratifying to know that many people are now seeing how Kagame’s regime is founded on lies and thirst for Hutus’ blood and that of any person who wish to pose a genuine challenge to him. He knows too well that he is not even fit to be a village headman and all his thinking and leadership style is full of mediocrity.The question is how long would humanity tolerate such a person being entrusted with the responsibility to be on top of national affairs. The only thing i can say is that keeping a blind eye to this reality is not only harmful to rwandese alone but to the entire globe. Ask the French and the Spanish they will testify to you.

    Reply

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