By Erasme Rugemintwaza
From May 31, 2021 to August 31, 2021, it’s been three months since Karasira Aimable Uzaramba was imprisoned. Since his arrest, Karasira has tirelessly fought for provisional release for specific reasons, including illness. His complaint has just been denied in the appeal! Why is his provisional release rejected?
First of all, we would like to recall that Mr. Karasira Aimable Uzaramba (from now Karasira) was arrested on May 31, 2021, while he was responding to the summons from the Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB), after a group Tutsi extremists called “Umurinzi Initiative”, pressured the population to sign a petition asking the authorities to arrest Karasira, to prosecute him for having denied and belittled the genocide against the Tutsi via his YouTube channel “Ukuri mbona” ( Literally, “The Truth I See”). At the time of writing this article, this August 31, 2021, there are already three months that Karasira is still languishing in prison.
Karasira, a well-educated man, responded to RIB’s summons on May 31, 2021, but he did not return home because he was immediately arrested. In the communication made on his arrest, the RIB informed the public that Karasira was arrested to be prosecuted on three charges to which a fourth was added, this one is related the property, which confused the public and ridiculed the Rwandan justice system. The charges against him are: denial and revisionism of the genocide against the Tutsi of 1994, the justification of the Genocide, divisionism, crimes that have been allegedly committed in broadcasts via YouTube, as well as illicit enrichment.
Karasira and his lawyers deny all these allegations; Karasira asserts that as a survivor of the Tutsi genocide, he cannot even think of denying or giving the justification for the genocide. He rises without any fear against injustice says openly that his parents and other siblings were killed by former RPF-Inkotanyi combatants during their struggle to conquer Rwanda. He strongly criticizes the conduct of the RPF-Inkotanyi regime, affirming that it does not care about the common people. He also said whether or not he is imprisoned he will never change his line of speaking out against what he calls injustice. Throughout his trial, Karasira continued to speak so loudly that some saw in his attitude this Rwandan proverb which says that ones say to a girl: “Girl, you are insulting”, and she answered them: “Who between you I insult, you dogs! ”
Since Karasira’s arrest, there has been a long debate that he should not be prosecuted because the charges against him do not constitute offenses especially since they are brought against a person with the mental disability. In fact, Karasira suffers from mental breakdown, the fact that he recognizes himself, and even those around him, not to mention medical documents. His lawyers, Evode Kayitana and Gatera Gashabana, have always told the courts, both at the level of the Base Court and the the Tribunal of Grande Instance of Nyarugenge that their decision to detain Karasira ignores the medical records showing that he suffers from a serious mental illness. His lawyers constantly remind that psychiatrists showed that Karasira started treatment from 2003. They say that based on his history, his imprisonment will worsen his health more than ever. Lawyers say none of the charges against him should lead to pre-trial detention, and they ask that he can be released, to be prosecuted while free. They even asked in vain for a few days for him to go to Ndera hospital, a centre for the mentally ill. The prosecution maintains that although Karasira does have the disease, the doctor has shown that his illness never interfered with his ability to think, that whatever he did, he was lucid.
The appeal against the decision to remand in custody was lodged with the Nyarugenge Base Court, but its decision was that Karasira be remanded in custody. It was then that the Tribunal of Grand Instance of Nyarugenge was seized. In all the debates, Karasira and his lawyers have always pleaded not guilty and have always requested his provisional release. On August 26, 2021, the Nyarugenge Grande Instance Court rejected Karasira’s appeal and ordered that he be remanded in custody as a pretrial decision. Karasira immediately declared that he was not ready to continue his trial.
Karasira generally denies the claims, saying that although he told the truth unnecessarily, it was because he had not recently taken his psychiatric medication. He goes on to say that apart from the disease, his words do not deny the genocide because he survived it and caused no division, as the prosecution alleged. He confirms that he is a political prisoner and that he believes that he will continue to be the victim of his choice because he will never change his line of fighting injustice and corruption. In his appeal, Karasira argues that there is no “Justice” (Ubutabera in Kinyarwanda) in Rwanda, but that, by the pun in Kinyarwanda, there is “Blinding” (Do not see: Kutareba. where Ubutareba: blindness); and ensures that he will continue to criticize him.
The judge declares that Karasira is presumed guilty of criminal mischiefs, according to court records. Thus, based on the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the judge recalled that the compelling reasons for suspecting a crime were sufficient because they were justified by an investigation which was conducted, and led to the suspicion that the accused could indeed have committed the crimes. Thus, depending on the gravity of the charges against him and if he is placed on provisional release, he will continue to do so and disseminate them in public, especially since the complainant claims that he is a political prisoner, Karasira must remain in pre-trial detention, before the substantive proceedings of the trial.
Thus, after analysis, Judge Dativa Mukamana ordered that the decision taken at first instance before the Nyarugenge Base Court be upheld, and thus confirmed that Karasira was in pre-trial detention.
Karasira, meanwhile, has said he will no longer appear in his trial, saying it would be a waste of time.
What is clear to everyone in this trial of Karasira is that they are deliberately trying to imprison him, because if the doctor says that Karasira has a mental breakdown, but the charges he is subject to are not affected by the disease, it is clear that this is the will of the State. Unless the doctor confirms that mental depression does not affect a person’s mental state, which would be an ignominious contradiction because depression would no longer be a disease! In addition, we all know a lot of people with this disease; they are so desperate, so hostile to life that they always want to suicide. These are the people who need constant attention, not the people who need to be thrown in jail! It would also be unfortunate if the doctor did not know that these mental illnesses are the result of what people have been through until they explode, say scaring things, run away from homes or hide, crying, or beating … signs of illness. For Karasira, the disease manifested itself, by a completely normal exteriorization of anxiety for the depressed persons by recounting the tragedy of his Tutsi family massacred by those who claimed to come to free the Tutsis from the Hutus regime. I think that the Government of National Unity should recruit a lot of experts in mental health and place them everywhere, like these “Abajyanama b’Ubuzima” (Health mobilizers), because Rwandan society has been injured, mistreated; Rwanda is sick. The Rwandan government only looked on one side, the Tutsi survivors of the genocide, giving them everything, rocking them like infants, but this with good reason because the RPF-Inkotanyi is indeed the trigger of this genocide. However, the Hutu survivors of the massacres of Byumba, Mutara, Nyacyonga, Kibeho, Ruhengeri these Hutu refugees who travelled all over Zaire on foot to Tingitingi under the fire of the Inkotanyi, those who saw their brothers and sisters savagely slaughtered, the children who hid in the bushes or ceilings to witness the macabre scenes of the massacres of their parents, innocent prisoners victims of their properties, those millions of people who survived these terrifying madness of Inkotanyi, are mentally ill. And now, in an effort to reconcile Rwandans and analyse the plight of the Rwandan community, the Government of National Unity (unless it is Tutsi unity) has appointed a Tutsi extremist Bizimana Jean Damascene, at this noble task. The latter claims that all the Hutus are criminal interahamwe, that no Hutu is allowed to mourn him relatives or to bury theirs discovered by chance or knowing exactly where they were thrown by the Inkotanyi. To do it or dare to say it like Karasira, is to cross the red line of which Bizimana Jean Damascène is the guardian! The government knows it, or pretends to ignore it, to kill a man to promote the widowed wife to the highest possible rank whether she is Vice-mayor or the deputy or something else, while the children were first abandoned at MINALOC which gave them three notebooks for a whole year, the girls cope with difficulties during their women’s periods, while the other children of the FARG received all the material on time; does the government not know that all of these people are potentially mentally sick?
Taking someone and imprison his parents and relatives and make him a minister or a mayor, who will sit with Inkotanyi like Kabarebe or Ibingira who brag about the massacres they have plotted or ordered like that of the devotees of Kabgayi , doesn’t that make him potentially sick? There are widows and orphans like Karasira or Shyaka Gilbert from Byumba, and many others, who have lived in ten tin houses that were built in order to hide the shame of a Rwandan apartheid, in the program called “Bye Nyakatsi”, while other widows like these but Tutsi, other orphans like them but Tutsi live in huge and beautiful houses that even an average civil servant envies. Where are we really going to put all these Rwandans abandoned to their fate at the expense of their fellow Tutsi, the day they will cry out their injustice in the street or on YouTube like Karasira or Shyaka? What Karasira said is less than what Kagame once said in the interview with Evgeny Lebedev: “OK, there are a lot of Hutus who have died. But they didn’t die as a result of being hunted down for who they are. ” And in the interview with Jeune Afrique, May 25, 2021, Kagame accepted, after the roar of all the Congolese people against him when he minimized the massacres of the Congolese reported in the famous “Mapping Report”: “Many people are dead in Rwanda and Congo, there is no doubt about it ”.
When these many civilians die, there needs to be a response: we need mourning, we need a shroud worthy for a human being. And one can wonder if the answer to this wounded Rwandan community, traumatized by the RPF-Inkotanyi regime is the prison? One wonders if the persons who can truly reconcile Rwandans are Bamporiki and Bizimana Jean Damascene whose hearts are swamped with greed. The Government of National Unity should find a real remedy for the traumatized Rwandan society; starting with the leaders, like those mentioned above because their attitude testifies a pernicious trauma! Otherwise, they run the country into a yawning abyss. As for Karasira, it is a star which was reached by the light before the others, which is courage, it shines; there are an infinite number of invisible stars, but which one day will also shine. So if the Government of Rwanda does not change anything let. it has at least expand the prisons! But it is better to free Karasira, and also initiate a real Gacaca capable of addressing the trauma of Rwandan society. A real talk of reconciliation, where everything without taboos could be said. Is needed. And above all, to discuss and resorb the hateful rivalry between the Hutus and the Tutsis. Even an amnesty can be considered after establishing the truth. Not doing this it is like sleeping candidly on the feet of Nyiragongo.