RWANDA: INGABIRE TRIAL: NEW BAIL REFUSED AMID FRESH PRESIDENTIAL INTERFERENCES

Today the High Court declined the new bail motion submitted by Madame Victoire Ingabire Defence counsel on 14.12.2011 before the adjournment of the case to 16th January 2012.

The motion was based on the lack of serious evidence in the case; the contradictions and inconsistencies of the prosecution and his witnesses; the fact that the prosecution is still not ready with its investigations and finally the grounds offered by the article 101of law n° 13/2004 of 17/5/2004 relating to the code of criminal procedure, o.g special nº of 30/07/2004 reading as follows : “in all offences, an accused person or his or her counsel can at any time apply for ball to the public prosecutor charged with the preparation of the case or to a Judge or Magistrate depending on the stage of investigation”.

The defendant was told that she is prosecuted for grave crimes and that the High court has not yet received the whole evidence on acts of terrorism as the Public Prosecution Authority is still working on it.

On 15 December 2011 evening, His Excellency Frank Makken, the Dutch Ambassador to Rwanda visited Madame Victoire Ingabire in prison.

This is happening amid fresh presidential interferences in the case and angry remarks by President Paul Kagame on political space, human rights and freedom of expression.

Speaking to reporters on Monday during his two-day state visit to Uganda, Rwandan president Paul Kagame said his government has collected ‘more than enough’ evidence to link opposition leader Victoire Umuhoza Ingabire to rebel groups in Eastern DR Congo.

This evidence is not yet in court after more than a year in maximum prison. The President hinted that the British lawyer has abandoned the client after he realised that the client is guilty. Barrister Iain Edwards was surprised. “It’s an outrageous thing to say”, he said.

And in what looks like a fury new response to the US Ambassador Susan Rice’s concerns on violations of human rights, lack of political space and freedom of speech in Rwanda, the President said:

“In fact the space that is lacking is the space that is constantly being occupied by those intruders. This nonsense from outside is occupying our space. These teachers of political space, these teachers of press freedom,these so called teachers of freedoms (…) … and you come and gives lessons here about freedoms, you are a joker! Some of us that those same people accuse of stifling freedoms here in Rwanda are fighters for freedoms…you are just liars. We have interest in our own rights and freedoms as anyone else has. There are no lessons to be learned about freedoms from those people with double standards who tell lies all of them (…) You Rwandans and the people you represent, you people sitting here, you should not accept this nonsense…These journalists, these human rights activists, these masqueraders, they should never speak for you. Speak for yourself … Who are you speaking for?…It’s an insult to you Rwandans. I reject the whole idea…” (listen to the audio from the 11th minute at this link http://www.paulkagame.tv/podcast/?p=episode&name=2011-12-15_kagameumushikirano____.mp3).

 

There is persisting troubling evidence that while the government is keeping the opposition leader Ms. Victoire Ingabire in maximum prison, there are teams of security operatives and messengers relaying each other in her cell predicting the settlement of the trumped up criminal case in a plea bargain under conditions of full information and rational choice. This is another form of psychological torture. If you are interested in negotiations, don’t discuss with a hostage in prison, talk to the defence counsel or political party colleagues.


FDU-INKINGI
Boniface Twagirimana
Interim Vice president.