Press Release (PDF)
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