Political prisoners of FDU-Inkingi Party were arrayed before the court today July 9, 2018 only to be told by judges that the hearing could not take place because one of the accused, Ernest Nkiko, who had been released on bond awaiting trial, had not been summoned to appear in court. The trial is now hanging on the good will of the prosecution while the accused rot in the harsh conditions of the Rwandan prison.
We have learnt with shock that the prosecution may use delaying tactics, in order to have time to change the indictment. It is alleged that the prosecution want to convert the charge into “collaboration with an international terrorist organisation” and hence turn the trial into the “fight against international terrorism”. According to reliable sources, the trial is to be handed over now to the chamber for international crimes of the High Court in Nyanza. We may recall that a Muslim imam accused of terrorism, Muhamed Mugemangango, was shot dead by Rwandan police in Kigali in January 2016 in what police termed an attempt to evade justice.
We have also learnt from inside sources that in order to divert attention from accusations of terrorism and repression against its citizens, the Rwandan regime has been advised by its lobbyists to join the world alliance in the fight against terrorism. It is in this regard that the government made a contribution of one million dollars to fund the fight against terrorism in the Sahel region. The Rwandan regime wants to make itself African champion in the creation of an African force with foreign aid to fight terrorism in Africa. The regime would want to use the skills gained and financial resources at the disposal of such a force in its policy of internal repression against its political opposition.
The appearance on Monday July 9, 2016 of the eight members of FDU-Inkingi who include the 1st Vice President Boniface Twagirimana and Assistant treasurer Ms Leonille Gasengayire is meant to serve the following purposes: show that there is a rule of law in Rwanda by mere appearance in court, intimidate all dissent voices, to appeal to national sentiment of impending external threat (a tactic of all dictatorial regime) that the country is under security threat and to cover up the internal repression under the cover of fight against international terrorism.
The show trial will remind the public once again that the Rwandan dictatorial regime will not back down to any external pressure to end or ease its repression even when rebuked by its key allies including the United States that accuses it of” arbitrary or unlawful killings; torture; harassment, arrest, and abuse of political opponents, human rights advocates, and individuals perceived to pose a threat to government control and social order; security forces disregard for the rule of law; and restrictions on civil liberties”, (US Country Human rights report 2017).
We would like to condemn in the strongest terms possible the denial of justice for FDU-Inkingi members on the flimsy excuse of the prosecution, which has all the state machinery at its fingers tips that it has failed to bring an accused in court.
We would like to warn the international community against the new strategy of the Rwandan regime aimed at drawing it into supporting internal repression under the fight against international terrorism.
We appeal to governments and organisations that genuinely want durable peace and national reconciliation in Rwanda to denounce the Machiavellian tactics of maintaining grip on power.
We would like to ensure that political prisoners and their family that their sacrifices for the sake of freedom and peace in Rwanda will stay written down in history for future generations.
Done in London, on July 9, 2018.
FDU-Inkingi Commissioner for External Relations and spokesperson.