After spending more than one-year languishing in prison awaiting trial,
eight FDU-Inkingi Party political prisoners who included the 1st Vice
President of FDU-Inkingi, have been told that they cannot appear in
court yesterday January 8, 2019 due to an alleged outbreak of measles in
all prisons in Rwanda. A tentative date for hearing is set for
February 12, 2019.
We have reasons to suspect that this could be yet
another delaying tactic to keep them in jail. One can hardly believe
that measles, that is usually an illness of children and young people,
would affect all prisons in the country and at the same time.
They were arrested in September 2017, and the prosecution has been
struggling to get evidence while the FDU-Inkingi leadership are
languishing in prison. In order to attract international sympathy, the
prosecution has been trying to convert the initial charge into
“collaboration with an international terrorist organisation” and hence
join the alliance to “fight against international terrorism”.
Mr Boniface Twagirimana was picked incognito from his co-accused on the
3rd of October 2018, from Mageregere prison and transferred to Mpanga
maximum prison from where he vanished five days later under mysterious
circumstances. The whereabouts of the 1st Vice President Mr Boniface
Twagirimana remain unknown despite appeals from his family and party to
government to find him. However, all available indications of his
disappearance point to a foul play by state security agents.
More than two months after his disappearance there is nothing to show
that a thorough investigation is taking place into the alleged evasion.
During the five days, Mr Boniface Twagirimana was kept in highly
protected “maisonette” inside the maximum-security prison, a very short
time for anyone to organise an evasion. He had also met his wife three
days before the alleged evasion and had expressed high hopes about his
future freedom after the release of the President of his party Mrs
Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza.
We call upon the Rwandan government to release FDU-Political prisoners
without any further delay because they are held illegally after spending
13 months in jail without trial.
We call on the government to produce the Vice President of our party
Boniface Twagirimana or to publish the results of its investigation if
ever it was done.
Done in Rouen on January 9, 2019
FDU-Inkingi Commissioner for Information and Communication