IMMINENT ARREST OF RWANDAN STUDENT ACTIVISTS BY THE POLICE
In the interest of justice, fairness and universal human rights declaration that Rwanda is a signatory we would like to bring to your attention the following: On the September, 13th 2013 a group of current and former student from different institutions of higher learning in Rwanda wrote a letter to the Prime Minister and a copy was handed over to the other organs of the state among them the Presidency of the Republic of Rwanda Subsequently, The Rwanda National Police arrested more than forty students and taxi drivers at Kacyiru Taxi Park where a delegation that went to the Prime Minister’s office was to brief their colleagues about the outcome of their activity.
Few days later most of those arrested were released without charges and only four individuals namely: Mr. Jean Baptiste Icyitonderwa; Mr. Martin Ntavuka; Mr. Samuel Hitimana and Mr. Emmanuel Ntakirutimana were remanded in police custody. The accused individuals were taken to Kacyiru Lower Court and charged with holding illegal protest. The court found them not guilty and were released thereof. However the Police were not happy with the judgment and instead of appealing the verdict in the higher court, they resorted to intimidation and harassment (including late night threatening calls…) Eventually Mr Jean Baptiste Icyitonderwa Received a call from RICHARD IYAREMYE (Chief Inspector of Police) based at Remera Police Station. On his arrival, a date of November 5th 2013 was given that Jean Baptiste Icyitonderwa together with his former co-accused present themselves at the Remera Police Station. Chief inspector Richard Iyaremye also gave Jean Baptiste Icyitonderwa two summons that he must deliver to Mrs. Flora Irakoze and Mr. Alexis Bakunzibake. It is indeed yesterday November 5th 2013, when Jean Baptiste Icyitonderwa presented himself to Chief inspector Richard Iyaremye, but to his surprise after an 8 hour interrogation he ordered that Jean Baptiste Icyitonderwa be kept in police custody! And new summons for Mr. Martin Ntavuka; Mr. Samuel Hitimana; Mr Emmanuel Ntakirutimana; Alexis Bakunzibake and Flora Irakoze were issued to report at the same Police Station by 8h00 November 7th 2013.
We are concerned that since the arrest of Mr. Jean Baptiste Icyitonderwa, the rest of the accused and summoned individuals cannot be reached either at their places of residence or on their phones. We call upon the police to explain the whereabouts of these people. After the handover of these letters the Education ministry admitted that the students financing methodologies leave a lot to be desired and tried to mend some of the shortcomings. In fact many issues raised by the accused and their colleagues are still being addressed by relevant authorities. We are astonished by Police Conduct in this matter and we really hope that the government will intervene and stop these police acts that are detrimental to the aspirations of the youth of our country (i.e. Affordable education, rule of law…).
The international covenant on civil and political Rights Art. 14(7) prohibits a person from being tried again on the same or similar charges following a legitimate acquittal or conviction. Mr. Jean Baptiste Icyitonderwa and his colleages ware acquitted for all crimes that allegedly arose from the letter to the PM. However, the police is still harassing these members of the public with ” investigations” and detentions for the same ” crimes” they were acquitted of and other fabricated charges. We call upon the Rwanda National Police to release Jean Baptiste Icyitonderwa with immediate effect and cease any other act of intimidation or any other form of harassment for that matter. The Police also must stop interfering in Educational issues of our country and stick to law enforcement as mandated by the constitution. We also appeal to the Diplomatic corps in Kigali and other international organization to follow this case closely and help secure the release of Mr. Jean Baptiste Icyitonderwa and prevent the arrest of the others.
Done at Kigali
On behalf of the Accused