On Friday April 22, 2011, during a visit by their respective spouses, the two detained UDF-INKINGI local leaders Anastase HAGABIMANA and Norbert MANIRAFASHA managed to get in touch with the outside world and hired Attorney Jean-Claude SOSHI BIZIMANA as their counsel. This Sunday, April 24, 2011, at 14:pm, they might be grilled by police in the presence of their lawyer. According to him, the charges against his two clients remain unsubstantiated.
The night from Friday to Saturday, police officers beat them seriously in efforts to force them to disclose their respective e-mail addresses and passwords to allow police access their email accounts with the aim of finding evidence against them.
Meanwhile, some light was shed on the circumstances of their arrests. They were apprehended in a cybercafé at “Rubangura House” in Kigali City. This indicates they had been either monitored by plain clothes security operatives, betrayed by a whistleblower or both. A draft of the press release they were working on was seized on the spot and was later produced by police as evidence that they were allegedly plotting protests against the rising cost of living across the country.
In an interview aired on Friday by RPF mouthpiece Contact FM radio, party colleague Boniface Twagirimana pretended he didn’t know them. Prior to that, in a separate incident, a man who declined to reveal his real name called MANIRAFASHA’s spouse on phone pretending to be in possession of information about her detained husband and eventually rushed to her home. The man handed her a letter bearing Attorney GATERA GASHABANA’s contact details threatening the two detained leaders of further tougher action if they don’t stop using UDF-INKINGI motto and publishing press releases.
The sender pretended to be acting on behalf of detained UDF-INKINGI Chair Victoire Ingabire’s orders and the man wanted Manirafasha’s spouse to sign as a proof that her husband acknowledges he received the warning.
It is not yet clear whether these two incidents and Hagabimana and Manirafasha’s harassment by police are connected or else pure coincidence. Nevertheless, the UDF-INKINGI Executive Bureau calls on Mr GATERA GASHABANA to clear his name in this scam. The Executive Bureau will take adequate internal measures to stop once for all indisciplined members who are conniving with the current dictatorship in Rwanda in carrying out hostile activities against fellow members, cadres and leaders of our organization.
On the contrary, as Police have persistently refused to make any statement about the death of Jean-Claude Rugira, another party cadre from Huye District who died on April 8, 2011, as a result of serious multiple injuries inflicted on him by unknown people, the arrest of our comrades might be a retaliatory action against their continued advocacy and denunciation of Mr. Rugira’s assassination.
The UDF-INKINGI asks the police to rather investigate Rugira’s death instead of harassing concerned Rwandan citizens for the only reason that they are exercising their right of self expression and standing for their basic rights.
We call upon all well wishers and human rights advocates to stand with us until Anastase HAGABIMANA and Norbert MANIRAFASHA are released unconditionally since they haven’t committed any offence.
Done at Lyon, April 24, 2011
First Vice Chair