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Amnesty International: Urgent action for Rwandan opposition leader Mushayidi

Document – Rwanda: Politician arrested, risks ill-treatment: Deogratias Mushayidi

UA: 56/10 Index: AFR 47/001/2010 Rwanda Date: 10 March 2010



Rwandan politician Deogratias Mushayidi has been detained since 5 March. He has been allowed no contact with his lawyer, and he is at risk of ill-treatment.

Deo Mushayidi

Deo Mushayidi

Deogratias (usually known as Deo) Mushayidi is the Chairman of a political party, the Pact for People’s Defence (PDP). It was founded in Belgium, and is active with Rwandans living abroad, but not registered in Rwanda. He was head of the Rwandan Journalists’ Association from 1996 to 2000. He is an outspoken critic of the Rwandan government.

He was detained in Burundi on 3 March by the Burundian security forces, who handed him over to Rwanda two days later. It is not clear whether he was formally extradited.

The Rwandan authorities have told national broadcaster Radio Rwanda that Deogratias Mushayidi is wanted in connection with recent grenade attacks in Kigali. He is accused of a number of serious offences, including terrorism, but it is not clear whether he has actually been charged. He has not yet been brought before a court.

The Rwandan Police confirmed to Amnesty International on 9 March that Deogratias Mushayidi is detained at Kicukiro Police Station. They said that his right to access a lawyer and other visitors would be respected. However, his lawyer has so far been refused access to him. An international human rights group and some of his friends did not receive authorization either to visit him.

PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in English, French or your own language:

urging the authorities to release Deogratias Mushayidi, or else charge him with a recognizably criminal offence;
urging them to ensure that any legal action takes place promptly and in accordance with international fair trial standards;
urging them to ensure he has access to a lawyer of his choosing, and regular family visits;
urging them to ensure that he is not subjected to torture or other ill-treatment.


Paul Kagame
Office of the President
BP 15
Urugwiro Village

Fax: +250 572431

Salutation: Dear President Kagame

Police commissioner
Emmanuel Gasana
Commissioner General
Rwandan National Police

Fax: +250 58 66 02

Salutation: Dear Commissioner General

Prosecutor General
Martin Ngoga
National Public Prosecution Autnority
BP 1328

Fax: +250 589 501

Salutation: Dear Prosecutor General

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.


ADditional Information

Deogratias Mushayidi fled Rwanda in 2000 and sought asylum in Belgium. From exile, he has been an outspoken critic of the Rwandan government. He formed the Pact for Peoples Defence in November 2008. In recent months, he is known to have travelled to Tanzania.

On 19 February, there were three simultaneous grenade attacks in Kigali. Less than two weeks later, on 4 March, there were two further near-simultaneous grenade attacks in Kigali. Rwandan police investigations into the attacks are underway, and it is in connection with these attacks that Deogratias Mushayidi has been arrested.

The attacks came amid rising tension as Rwanda prepares for presidential elections due to take place in August. Amnesty International has condemned recent intimidation of opposition groups and urged the authorities to respect the right of opposition parties to freedom of expression, freedom of association and peaceful assembly.

UA: 56/10 Index: AFR 47/001/2010 Issue Date: 10 March 2010


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