Rwandan opposition calls for immediate release of Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza

by the Permanent Consultative Council of Opposition Parties in Rwanda (PCC)

The Permanent Consultative Council of Opposition Parties in Rwanda (PCC), which brings together the United Democratic Forces-FDU Inkingi, the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda and the Social Party Imberakuri, is calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza and the release of all other political prisoners.

On Oct. 14, Ms. Ingabire was arrested and incarcerated in Kicukiro police custody on seemingly politically motivated charges of forming a terrorist organization. The Coalition of Democratic Forces (CDF) is alleged to be the military wing of FDU-Inkingi.

She had been imprisoned in April 2010 and later released on bail but has since then been under extended house arrest. She has never been given a chance to fairly confront her accusers in a court of law. She has never been a flight risk or a threat to the community.

All of the three opposition parties that challenged the Rwandan Patriotic Front-led government have undergone serious and dangerous trials.

The government refused to register the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda after a whole year of risky peaceful struggle that was started on Aug. 14, 2009. Its Vice President Andre Kagwa Rwisereka was found beheaded on July 14, 2010.

They also refused to register the United Democratic Forces-FDU Inkingi, and many of its members have been imprisoned or released on bail.

The Social Party Imberakuri had managed to get registered in July 2009 but was later broken up into several factions, one of them now in the government’s Political Parties Forum. Its founding president, Maitre Bernard Ntaganda, has been in prison since June 24, 2010. He is reported to be in very critical condition at King Faycal Hospital after Kigali Central Hospital was unable to treat him.

URGENT CALL FOR ACTION:

•We urgently call for the immediate release of Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza with no further conditions.

•We demand an immediate release from prison of Mr. Bernard Ntaganda, who has been detained since June 24, 2010, and is now facing serious health conditions, which may claim his life.

•We demand an immediate trial of the killers of the late Andre Kagwa Rwisereka, vice president of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, and we still call for an international independent inquiry and an independent autopsy as Human Rights Watch has already requested.

•We also demand the immediate release from prison of Ms. Seraphine Mukamana, the Green Party’s Kigali city coordinator.

•We call upon the international community, especially the U.S., U.K., all EU member states and all friends of Rwanda to continue seriously urging the government of Rwanda to open up political space and allow democracy take root in Rwanda.

This statement was issued at Kigali, Rwanda, on Oct. 15, 2010, by Mr. Frank Habineza, founding president, Democratic Green Party of Rwanda; Mr. Sylvain Sibomana, secretary general, United Democratic Forces, FDU Inkingi; and Mr. Theobald Mutarambirwa, secretary general, PS Imberakuri.

Frank Habineza, who is on mission in Europe, can be contacted at 46737588927 or fhabineza@africangreens.org. The Permanent Consultative Council of Opposition Parties in Rwanda (PCC) can be contacted at B.P.6334 Kigali,Rwanda,telephone +250788563039, +250728636000 or +250788307145.