Post-election crackdown on opposition: arrests, threats and harassment

Association

On 22nd September, the authorities once again arrested ex-presidential candidate and rights activist, Diane Rwigara, who faced intimidation and disqualification in the run-up to the August 2017 election. As reported previously on the Monitor, Rigwara, her mother and sister were initially detained at the end of August on tax evasion charges, but they now face charges of treason, inciting revolt and revealing sensitive information. On 4th October, prosecutors announced that Rwigara would be charged with inciting insurrection and forging documents, while the tax evasion charges that were previously levied would be dropped. In her courtroom appearance on 16th October, Rwigara denied all charges and claimed that she had been arrested for attempting to run against incumbent President Paul Kagame.

Human Rights Watch has noted a post-election political crackdown in the country since the August election took place, with several members of unregistered opposition parties and other political opponents being threatened, harassed and arrested, and some of them forcibly disappeared. On 6th September, the authorities arrested seven members of the FDU Inkingi, an opposition party that has not been allowed to register or to take part in elections. According to police, those arrested include Vice-President Boniface Twagirimana, Leonille Gasengayire, Fabien Twagirayezu, Nsabiyaremye Gratien, and Theophile Ntirutwa. Jean Marie Vianney Kayumba, vice-chairman of PDP-Imamzi, was also arrested on the same day.