(English) Rwanda: Sylvain Sibomana, FDU – Inkingi Secretary General and Martin Ntavuka, Kigali-city leader arrested today.

Kigali, 08 September 2012
Mr. Sylvain Sibomana, FDU – Inkingi Secretary General and Mr. Martin Ntavuka, Kigali-city leader were retrieved at Muhanga District police station late afternoon this Saturday 08 September after they went missing for a few hours. The party Vice president rushed to the detention facility to confirm their arrest and their conditions but was denied any chance to speak to them. The police refused to give them the water he brought and declined to reveal the reason that led to their arrest and their detention at 50 kms from their homes, as well as the motives for the deprivation of liberty. The last time they communicated with colleagues it was before 10:00.
This country is becoming impossible for any opposition. On 26 August 2012, Mr Sylvain was assaulted by security personnel and jailed for a few hours in Remera police station (Kigali city). The government never investigated the beating. On 20 October 2011, he was arrested and jailed in Rubavu district police custody for 2 days. On 24 June 2010, he was arrested together with many other party executive members and tortured in custody before they were released weeks later after a kangaroo court declared them guilty and fined them for attempt to organise illegal protest.
On 05 September 2012, Mr. Alexis Bakunzibake, Parti Social Imberakuri first Vice President was kidnapped and retrieved abandoned alive but ailing across the border in Uganda.
Yesterday, the Kigali High Court adjourned to 19 October 2012 the verdict of the chair of FDU-Inkingi, Madame Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, in maximum prison since 14 october 2010 for politically motivated charges.
We are very grateful to the excellencies the British High Commissioner Benedict Llewellyn-Jones and the Ambassador of the Netherlands Leoni Cuelenaere and to other diplomats who went to the high court to hear the verdict of Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza.
The harassment of opposition members can’t continue endlessly. We call upon the international community to remind president Paul Kagame’s government to respect freedoms of Rwandans and to open the political space. This will help Rwanda to avoid another chaos. The secret deals reached with some former members of the opposition to return home and get registered under the umbrella of the ruling party should never fool the international community. Those are some strategies the dictatorship has always been using to divide and muzzle the real opposition. Real opponents of the regime are in prison, or dead, or in exile, or under intensive harassment.
This is the time Rwanda needs the help of its friends. “Time of a politics of courage, not fear”.
Boniface Twagirimana
Interim Vice President

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