Away from diplomatic representations, the media and human rights observers, in an empty room, on October 24, 2017, the judge of the Court of Appeal in Kigali, Rwanda, decided to keep in custody 7 members of FDU-Inkingi. They includes the First Vice-President, Boniface Twagirimana, and his colleagues: Fabien Twagirayezu, Gasengayire Léonille, Gratien Nsabiyaremye, Evode Mbarushimana, Norbert Ufitamahoro, Theophile Ntirutwa , and Papias Ndayishimiye who confessed that under torture the police extracted confession from him. They are all accused of belonging to a fictitious armed group called P5. The second prosecution witness, Ernest Nkiko, who was expressly recruited by the Directory of Military Intelligence (DMI) was released.
Following the remand in custody of Diane Rwigara, who was charged with a similar crime of “intelligence with a terrorist organization”, it would have been a surprise if the judges in appeal had decided otherwise. Nevertheless, it is completely unusual that the sentence was pronounced in a practically empty room, in the absence of the defendants, who were kept in different room by the police in company with several observers who had come to hear the trial.
The FDU-Inking First Vice-President, Boniface Twagirimana, was given a copy of the trial sentence in “his absence” when he and his colleagues had been brought to court by the security services for the verdict. This fact indicates the frustration of the judges who are often urged to convict innocent people according to instructions from President Paul Kagame.
The RPF and its President, Paul Kagame, have once again proved that they are determined to completely silence the democratic opposition in Rwanda. This headlong rush is ominous practice for sustainable peace and security in Rwanda, and in the Great Lakes region.
Done in London, UK on October 25, 2017.
Commissioner for External Relations and Spokesperson