RWANDA: Opposition Activists Held Over Violence at Ingabire Trial

Sylvain Sibomana one of the activists
Sylvain Sibomana one of the activists

Rwanda Police is holding two opposition leaders accused of inciting violence and causing commotion. The suspects are Sylvain Sibomana and Dominique Shyirambere. The dou was picked up on Tuesday outside the Supreme Court premises in Kimihurura Gasabo District during the hearing of a petition filed by Victoire Ingabire, the jailed opposition politician challenging her conviction to eight years in jail over treason. According to police, the two politicians mobilized a group of about 20 people to stir trouble outside the courtroom. Emmanuel Gasana, the Inspector General of Rwanda Police says that the suspects are also facing charges of assaulting security and spreading harmful propaganda.

It is alleged that the politicians assaulted police officers who tried to stop them from causing commotion at the court. Gasana says that Sibomana is also wanted by court for holding an illegal public meeting in Rutsiro District, Western Province late last year. Section 685 of the Rwandan penal code stipulates that, “any person who holds a public meeting or demonstration on public ways without notifying competent authorities shall be liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months and a fine ranging between Rwandan francs 100, 000 to Rwf1 million.”

Victoire Ingabire, the leader of Unified Democratic Forces was convicted to jail in October last year after she was found guilty of treason. The court also found her guilty of “belittling” Rwanda’s 1994 genocide. Ingabire, a Hutu, returned from exile in the Netherlands in January 2010.  After her return, Ingabire was repeatedly questioned by police until when she was finally arrested and charged with treason.

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