Diane Rwigara Acquitted of Charges as Opposition Figure "Disappears" from Prison


Rwandan activist Diane Rwigara and her mother were released on bail on 5th October 2018. Among the bail conditions, the Rwigaras were asked to seek permission to leave Kigali and also submit their travel documents to the authorities. On 6th December, the high court in Kigali acquitted Rwigara and her mother of charges of inciting insurrection and forgery.

as previously documented, the two had spent over a year in jail after Diane was barred from running in presidential elections against incumbent President Paul Kagame, on charges largely decried as politically-motivated. The country’s chief prosecutor has said he will appeal the decision.

On 7th October 2018, opposition party FDU-Inkingi's deputy leader Boniface Twagirimana, “disappeared” from Mpanga prison in southern Rwanda after supposedly jumping the fence with another inmate shortly after being transferred to a new prison. Party members, however, cried foul, alleging that Twagirimana was abducted and driven away in a state prison vehicle – his family has also expressed doubts over the official account of his disappearance. Recently released party leader Victoire Ingabire was summoned for questioning by the Rwanda Investigations Bureau in connection to the disappearance.

On 7th December, the African Court of Human and Peoples' Rights ordered the Rwandan government to pay Ingabire USD $61,000 in compensatory damages for the suffering she endured in prison. It ruled that Ingabire suffered material and moral injury as a result of rights violation. The court rejected her application to have her criminal record cleared and be refunded for expenses she incurred while in detention. As previously reported in the Monitor, Ingabire was released on 15th September after being sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2012, in a trial described as politically motivated by international civil society organisations.


On 21st November, BBC journalist Phocas Ndayizera was arrested in Kigali by Rwandan security forces, who did not publicly disclose the arrest for a week. Ndayizera was accused of receiving explosives and plotting with terrorists, and faces 20 years in prison if found guilty. In June 2015 the BBC Kinyarwanda radio service was suspended indefinitely following the broadcast of a documentary on the genocide, a topic which remains controversial for the media to cover.