Tag: Rwandan political prisoner Victoire Ingabire
On Nov. 18, Rwandan President Paul Kagame inducted seven thieves without borders and one medical doctor into his “National Order of Outstanding Friendship,” presenting them with medals for “exemplary service” to the nation, meaning himself and his ruling party, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). Kagame is a modern day exemplar of French King Louis XIV’s theory of government: “L’état, c’est moi” (“I am the state”).
Friends and supporters of Rwandan political prisoner Victoire Ingabire are still waiting for the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights to rule on her appeal. In 2010, Victoire attempted to run for president against military dictator Paul Kagame and went to prison instead. Many Rwandans describe their country as a tinderbox, an earthquake fault, or a smoldering volcano because of its brutal oligarchy, unresolved ethnic polarization, and repressed memories of violence and loss.
Oct. 14 marked the seventh anniversary of Rwandan political prisoner Victoire Ingabire’s arrest shortly after she attempted to run for president against Rwanda’s military dictator, President Paul Kagame. The Brussels-based International Women’s Network for Democracy and Peace commemorates Oct. 14 as Ingabire Day, a day of solidarity with Victoire Ingabire and all political prisoners. I asked Claude Gatebuke, Rwandan genocide survivor and founder of the African Great Lakes Action Network, to explain Victoire Ingabire’s message.
Oct. 14 marked the sixth anniversary of Rwandan political prisoner Victoire Ingabire’s arrest, and Oct. 24 will mark the 20th anniversary of Rwanda and Uganda’s invasion and occupation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. KPFA’s Ann Garrison filed this report on these intertwined anniversaries.
I answered some heartbreaking calls from Dr. Léopold Munyakazi phoning from an Alabama jail this week. Dr. Munyakazi is a gentle Rwandan born scholar, with a PhD in linguistics and further advanced degrees in French and African linguistics. He has lost his immigration case in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals and will all but certainly be deported to Rwanda to face prison or worse.
On May 19, 2016, the Rwandan government ordered Dutch lawyer Caroline Buisman to leave Rwanda immediately, without even meeting her new client, political prisoner Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza. Buisman had arrived in the country’s capital Kigali on May 14, 2016, to consult with Ingabire regarding the appeal of her conviction for terrorism, inciting popular revolt and minimizing the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.
Earlier this week, supporters of iconic Rwandan political prisoner Victoire Ingabire, including her daughter and new granddaughter, gathered to protest her inhumane prison conditions. Members of her party in Kigali report that prison authorities have painted her only cell window black, taken away her books and put her in harsher isolation than before. Prison authorities are denying her legal right to meet with the Rwandan lawyer who’s representing her in her appeal to the African Court of Human and People’s Rights.
On Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015, in Rwanda’s capital city Kigali, Ambassador of the Netherlands Ms. Leoni Cuelenaere paid a courtesy visit to political prisoner and president of FDU-Inkingi Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza in her cell in the Kigali Central Prison. The visit took place after a long struggle by the ambassador, who wanted to see for herself the prison conditions of Ms. Ingabire. They have deteriorated since the change in leadership at the central prison.
Rwandan Dutch citizens and political asylum seekers in the Netherlands demonstrated in The Hague, the country’s capital, on Saturday, Nov. 29. They called on the Dutch government to stop supporting the dictatorship of Paul Kagame and stop deporting Rwandans at Kagame’s request. After watching the video of the demonstration, I spoke to Jean Flammé, a Belgian attorney for a Rwandan facing extradition for supporting Victoire Ingabire.
Nov. 8, 2014, was the 20th anniversary of the creation of the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda, and the court celebrated itself with a new legacy website and video tribute. CIUT-Ontario radio host Phil Taylor, a former private investigator for ICTR defense attorneys, who became a prominent critic of the court, called the video contemptible self-promotion and endorsement of Paul Kagame’s military dictatorship in Rwanda.
After becoming the leader of the Rwandan Diaspora’s opposition to the authoritarian regime of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Victoire Ingabire returned to Rwanda to run against him in the 2010 election. She was instead placed under house arrest shortly after her return and is now serving a 15 year sentence. This week the African Court of Human and People’s Rights agreed to hear her case on appeal, in Arusha, Tanzania.
Supporters of Rwandan political prisoner Victoire Ingabire marched in Brussels, Belgium, today to denounce the Rwandan Supreme Court’s December ruling, which increased her sentence on appeal. British lawyer Iain Edwards said that he is still waiting for a translation of the ruling before saying whether or not they will appeal beyond Rwanda to a regional court or to the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights.