The appeal hearing in the political case against Madam Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, FDU-Inkingi Chair, is opening tomorrow Monday 25 March 2013 in front of the Supreme Court of Rwanda. According to reliable sources, the process will drag on and the hearing will be postponed to mid April 2013.
On October 30, 2012, the High Court in Kigali declared her guilty of conspiracy to undermine the established government and denying the genocide, and sentenced her to eight years in prison. She has been detained in Kigali central prison since 14 October 2010. Both her defense counsel and the prosecutor filed an appeal to the Supreme Court.
The guilty ruling in the Kangaroo court was criticised by international Human rights organisations. “The prosecution of Ingabire for “genocide ideology” and divisionism illustrates the Rwandan government’s unwillingness to tolerate criticism and to accept the role of opposition parties in a democratic society,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The courts should not be used for such political purposes.” (HRW, October 30,2012).
“The trial was marred by the court’s failure to ensure that evidence was properly tested, combined with the prosecution’s disregard for due process in some instances,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Acting Deputy Africa Director (Amnesty International, 30.10.2012).
The prosecutor is requesting again a life sentence on 6 counts relating to genocide denial, conspiracy and planning to cause state insecurity, genocide ideology, promoting ethnic divisionism and supporting armed groups.
Three chairpersons of opposition parties are in prison in Rwanda along many members of political parties and independent media. Among other political prisoners, Madame Victoire Ingabire has joined in jail Mr. Deogratias Mushayidi, chairperson of PDP Imanzi, and Mr. Bernard Ntaganda, founding President of PS Imberakuri.
Again, we demand the immediate release of all political prisoners and journalists.
Lausanne 24 March 2013
FDU-Inkingi Coordinating committee
Dr. Nkiko Nsengimana