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FDU-Inkingi is worried about its Secretary General Sylvain Sibomana gone missing in Western Province of Rwanda

Sylvain Sibomana - Secretary General FDU-Inkingi

Sylvain Sibomana – Secretary General FDU-Inkingi

Kigali, 20 October 2011 – FDU-Inkingi announced today that his Interim Secretary General Sylvain SIBOMANA has gone missing.
According to the communique published FDU-Inkingi, Mr. Sylvain Sibomana disappeared around 12:40 today 20th October in Kanama location, Nyundo Sector, Rubavu District (Gisenyi), Western Province. His last contact was done on mobile phone whilst he was assaulted by security personnel for unknown reason before he was taken to unknown destination.

The Rwanda national police spokesperson who was alerted on real time, advised to discuss the matter with the local police station but all attempts to locate him in local police and military detention facilities have so far been fruitless.

Last update:

Friday 21 October 2011 – Mr Sylvain Sibomana, FDU-Inkingi interim Secretary General, arrested in Gisenyi yesterday, has been released. The Rubavu (Gisenyi) police station returned him all his belongings including identity card, digital camera, gsm phone today at 10:00. He is on his way back to Kigali. He told the colleagues that he is safe and sound, and has not been beaten. A police station officer informed him last night that they have been misinformed on his identity and that he was free to go.

October 20, 2011   No Comments

Take Action for Rwandan Opposition Politician Victoire Ingabire

by Susan Thomson

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza – Chair of Opposition Party FDU-Inkingi

Earlier this week, the Rwandan High Court ruled that it had full jurisdiction in the case of opposition leader, Victoire Ingabire. This went unremarked by the international and domestic media, save a few reports from actors sympathetic to the obvious involvement of senior Rwandan government officials in Ingabire’s trial. Indeed, almost all of the reporting on Ingabire’s case is coming from officials of her FDU-Inkingi party.

Ingabire, of the United Democratic Front, is on trial in Kigali for fomenting insecurity, denying the 1994 genocide and promoting ethnic divisionism. Rwandan security forces detained her in January 2010, in advance of the August 2010 Presidential elections in which the incumbent, Paul Kagame, was re-elected with 93% of the popular vote. Ingabire’s detention meant that her UDF did not stand in the August elections. She will spend 30 years in prison if found guilty.

The purpose of this post is to ask you to take action, namely write to Paul Kagame, to request a fair trial. We need to bring more attention to the flawed nature of this case to the international community, and writing letters of protest to Kagame with a copy to your local politician is a good place to start. I prepared sample text for you to cut-and-paste below.

The Prosecution claim to have evidence of Ingabire’s ‘terrorist’ activities with Hutu rebel groups based in neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo. Ingabire’s defence team, a Brit and a Rwandan, had been unable to assess the veracity and validity of the prosecution’s claims because the 2500-page indictment was issued in Kinyarwanda. This was contrary to the defendant’s right to an interpreter, which was required for defense lawyer Iain Edwards to do his job. The indictment was finally translated, but only a few weeks before her trial began in September 2011, leaving her defence team little time to prepare its counter-arguments.

At the same time, it appears that the rule of law, and the right to presumption of innocence are under threat, with senior members of the Rwandan government, including President Paul Kagame, Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Muskikwabo, and Prosecutor-General Martin Ngoga, publically proclaiming victory in the case before the defence had even mounted its argument in court.

Ingabire faces charges of being linked to rebel activity in eastern Congo and that she has uttered hate speech and denies the genocide. Ingabire has called for government recognition that ethnic Hutu are also survivors of the genocide. Since the 2008 Constitutional revision, it has become illegal to refer to the genocide as anything other than the genocide of Tutsi.

Amnesty International and other international human rights organizations have advocated for the Rwandan government to allow for greater freedom of expression. Opposition politicians, like Ingabire, journalists and human rights advocates cannot criticize the policies or activities of the government without fear of swift and severe repercussion. The case of Victoire Ingabire is emblematic of broader trends of repression and oppression in Rwanda, as noted in Amnesty International’s on-going “Allow Criticism to be Voiced” campaign.

Take Action

You can write a letter to President Paul Kagame, requesting a fair trial for Victoire Ingabire. You can also send a postcard prepared by Amnesty International – USA Section calling on Rwanda to allow criticism of the government to be voiced by opposition politicians. Be sure to send a copy to your local politician:

His Excellency President Paul Kagame
Office of the President

[Date, and your location of residence]

Your Excellency,

I am writing to express my concern for judicial irregularities and lack of respect for the rights of Mrs. Victoire Ingabire of the United Democratic Front. The indictment against Mrs. Ingabire is vague and sweeping. Her legal team has been unable to adequately prepare its defense arguments. In addition, Mr. President, members of your government have publicly spoken out about Mrs. Ingabire’s guilt, which is direct government interference in the judicial process. Such actions raise serious questions about the independence of the Rwandan judiciary, and the ability of Mrs. Ingabire to receive a fair trail that respects her human rights.

I urge you to allow Mrs. Ingabire a fair trial, which means letting her defense team to work unencumbered without fear of government interference in the proceedings.

Thank you,

October 20, 2011   2 Comments

Urgent Call to All Rwandans: Let Us Mobilise and Organize

by Theogene Rudasingwa.

An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind,” Ghandi said. Plus: people who are not mobilised and organised to wage peace, cannot even begin to imagine they will fight and win wars.

To all Rwandans who would like to fight and win quick victories against Kagame, I would like to ask three questions:

First: we have gone through two violent revolutions, and we are still without freedom. Where is the guarantee that another round of violence will this time deliver us from evil?

Second: if war was to erupt today, would you stop what you are doing and become a soldier?

Third: would you encourage your most beloved daughter/son/brother/sister/mo ther/father to join the fighting force?

Let us wage peace first, honestly, fully, and together (abahutu, abatutsi, abatwa). If and when Kagame imposes war on the nation, he will find us mobilised and organised, and he will surely lose the war, and we shall win it. For RNC , war is a means of last resort. Now, let us mobilise and organize, NOT AGONISE, as the Pan African Movement would say!

October 20, 2011   No Comments