RWANDA – “TAKE HEART: THE REGIME CANNOT BREAK MY SPIRIT” VICTOIRE INGABIRE TELLS HER SUPPORTERS

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On Friday 17th July 2015, political prisoner Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, President of FDU-Inkingi, once again confounded government officials as and uplifted the spirits of her supporters.

On Friday 17th July 2015, Mrs Victoire Ingabire was able to see her supporters in the presence of prison wardens, after a week of psychological torture at the hands of prison authorities. Since July 10, 2015, the prison officials, in a bid to break her spirit , had subjected her to a series of draconian measures that included painting black her cell windows to seal off  any natural light entering her cell, taking away her reading material including the Bible, church hymns  book and refusing access to her lawyer.  They had also ordered her to stop wearing her usual shoes and to put on ordinary sandals instead. She was also instructed not to wear her perfume. The other draconian measure taken consisted of being disallowed to speak to the person who brings her food every day.

Like any other prisoner she was allowed visitors on Friday 17, July 1015. They were held up for an hour and forty five minutes (1.45) before they could see her. She was seen in the presence of her jailers. To the complete bewilderment of prison wardens she told her supporters clear and loud that they should not lose hear over her ordeal and asked them to reassure supporters and party members that the regime cannot break her spirit; that when she took the decision to come to Rwanda to challenge the regime over policy and democratic governance, she had no illusion at all about what the regime could do to her. She said that she was prepared to pay any price for democracy, the rule of law and genuine national reconciliation to prevail in Rwanda.

Back in 2012, Victoire Ingabire had told the Prosecutor that whether they freed her, detained her or even killed her, she had kicked off an “unstoppable movement for democratic change”. Mrs Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza was sentenced to 15 years in jail in a politically motivated trial.  Amnesty International report pointed numerous violations of international law and listed Ingabire as a political prisoner in its 2014-2015 report on Rwanda.

FDU- Inkingi has called on the international community and all peace loving people and countries to put pressure on the Rwandan government to respect her international obligations especially with regard to the International convention of political and civil rights and the international convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

London July 22, 2015

Justin Bahunga

Commissioner for External Relations and  FDU-Inkingi Spokesperson

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