The political trial of 9 FDU-Inkingi political prisoners resumed today 20th of March 2019, still grieving over the murder in cold blood of their former colleague, Anselme Mutuyimana whose body was found in Gishwati forest less than 24 hours after his arrest by people in police uniform, and in the absence of their co accused Boniface Twagirimana, 1st Vice President of FDU-Inkingi, who is feared dead after a mysterious disappearance from Mpanga maximum security prison. The murders seem to be annual ritual killings. Illuminee Iragena was kidnapped in March 2016, Jean Damascene Habarugira in May 2018 and Anselme in 2019. This completes the circle that key leaders of the FDU-Inkingi are either in prison, forcedly disappeared or are dead.
As usual the prisoners had their legs chained and in handcuffs. They were told to jump out of the pickup as their family members including their children were looking on in anguish. What sadism!!
The bright side of the day is that members of FDU-Inkingi from the southern province turned up in large numbers in defiance of tactics of intimidation and life threats. Something that has confounded security agents sending them back to the drawing board.
They are prosecuted before the Rwandan courts, based on article 200 of the Rwandan penal code i.e. formation of an irregular army or being part of it, and under article 203 of the penal code i.e. conspiracy against the established power or the President of the Republic.
Today’s hearing focused on preliminary objections from the defence:
- In terrorism charges, it is the state attorney general who gives clearance to indict, as per the Rwandan criminal code. Yet, in this case, it is the national prosecutor who did it
- The indictment solely relies on the guilty plea of a one called Janvier Twagirayezu, who was arrested along FDU members purporting to be himself FDU member. He was mysteriously released upon the very first hearing. He confessed himself being RPF member, not FDU member
- According to available evidence, the prosecution wiretapping request was made on 31 May 2017. Twagirayezu meet for the first time the FDU accused members on 15 August 2017, almost 3 months later. How did the prosecution know, 71 days earlier, that Twagirayezu would meet FDU members? It is clear that he is an operative of the police whose evidence has to be rejected outrightly, for lack of integrity.
FDU takes this opportunity to complain about unrest in harassing FDU members in Nyanza prison. Yesterday evening, at around 2 pm, prison warders came to look for Fabien Twagirayezu . They purported that it was for routine administrative duties. Owing to the prevailing suspicion, after the murder of fellow Anselme Mutuyimana, by people in police uniform, FDU members resisted the move to take Twagirayezu out of cell, for fear of meeting the same fate as late Anselme.
FDU leadership does not have any problem with prison services conducting their business unhampered, but RCS should bear in mind that FDU prisoners ought to be treated like any other prisoner. If they have any querry with them, they should reach to them during working hours.
The FDU-Inkingi calls on the international community to act without fear or favour and
- ask the Rwandan government to release immediately the 9 FDU-Inkingi political prisoners on bond, as provided for in the national penal code;
- End impunity by bringing the Rwandan regime to account also for the lives of Rwandan (including late Habarugira and Anselme) and Congolese people that died through direct killing or obstructing the delivery of life saving services. They should be no more room of double standard justice.
Done in Rouen March 20, 2019
FDU-Inkingi Commissioner for Communications