Today, as President Paul Kagame has finally decided to go to pay his last respect to the freedom and reconciliation hero Nelson Mandela, his Supreme Court sentenced the political prisoner Madam Victoire Ingabire to 15 years in prison on final appeal, almost the double of the 8-year High court sentence of October 30, 2012.
This is a very strong message to the whole opposition. It’s a slap in the face of those, within the international community, asked for the opening of the political space and the release of political prisoners. It is a changing moment and paradigm shift in the struggle for democracy in Rwanda.
The court upheld previous trumped up convictions for “conspiracy in harming authorities through terrorism and war” and for minimising Rwanda’s 1994 genocide and added 7 years for “conspiring against the authorities”, another charge that was dropped by the previous court.
At this particular moment, I would like to extend my deepest solidarity and personal appreciation to Madam Victoire Ingabire and her family. Her strong dedication, courage and leadership are inspirations for us and for generations to come.
We will endeavor unremittingly in our struggle for democracy and lasting peace in Rwanda. We, members of the opposition, will set her and our country free. If not, our children and theirs will be left with a heavy burden on their heads.
Together for the release of political prisoners in Rwanda!
External relations commissioner