We have just learned from the family of Mrs. IRAGENA Illuminee, who was kidnapped in the morning of March 26, 2016 on her way to work at the King Faisal Hospital in Kigali City, that she might have died from torture by Rwandan security agents. Mrs. Iragena Illuminee was known for her dedication to the cause of the poor in society. She was head of a local NGO, ABIRU, which helps children from very low-income families in Kigali City to get access to education. She was mother of three young children. Her husband had to flee after the kidnapping of his wife to avoid being arrested or abducted.
Despite the family’s efforts to alert authorities immediately after the abduction and our press release issued on April 12, 2016, no official information about the whereabouts of Mrs Iragena was made available to the family by the services responsible for the protection of citizens. This case was never brought before a judge for a criminal charge. On the contrary, credible sources have successively reported her being held at the infamous Kami military barracks, then at Kanombe military barracks, before losing all traces about her whereabouts. She had probably been transferred to one of the many “Safe Houses” (secret detention facilities) scattered in Kigali City. The Kami military barracks in the outskirts of Kigali City is notorious for its cruelty during interrogation to extract false testimony.
The arrest of Mrs IRAGENA Illuminee followed by her disappearance seemed to be related to the kidnapping of our treasurer, Miss Gasengayire Leonile, on March 26, 2016. Indeed, when Miss Gasengayire was kidnapped from the premises of the Kigali maximum prison, she was in possession of the book written by political prisoner Madame Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza. This book belonged to Mrs Iragena Illuminée who had put her name on the book’s first page. During her questioning at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), the police had questioned her about this book and the owner, which, it’s important to emphasize it, is not officially banned in Rwanda hence its possession should in no circumstances be a crime.
The political party FDU-Inkingi would like to ask the Rwandan authorities to shed full light on this case. In a country that prides itself on being one of the safest in the region, it is not normal that a citizen disappears for 6 months without the authorities providing any information to the victim’s family. The arrest and detention for the second time of Miss Gasengayire Leonile, who was kidnapped at the same time of the arrest of Mrs. Iragena Illuminee, adds to our concerns about the real intentions of this government, which under the guise of its ultra-security policy, wants to get rid of any dissenting voice, real or perceived as such.
Done in London, on August 30, 2016
Commissioner for External Relations and Spokesperson