Conditions of detention worsen for Victoire Ingabire

Apr 2nd, 2016 at 9:31 | By | Category: News analysis, Top news

On this April 1st, Rwandan opposition party FDU-Inkingi released an alarming call for justice as they announced that the conditions of detention of Victoire Ingabire, chairman of the party, had deteriorated.

rwanda-victoire-ingabire-trial-2In their SOS alert, the party states that Victoire Ingabire is in danger in Kigali prison 1930 since she was moved from her private cell to the public area for women on March 31st. ‘’The conditions in the Kigali central prison are extremely difficult. One has to rent a place to sleep. There is no sanitary or other basic facilities such as access to water’, reads the SOS alert.

Deprivation of private meals

Prior to her unannounced transfer to the public area of the prison, Victoire’s medical certificate that allows her to receive food from outside the prison, was seized by prison personnel on March 26th. The certificate was issued by a Dutch doctor who diagnosed Victoire with gastric problems that require a special diet.

According to Joseph Bukeye, second Vice President of FDU-Inkingi, no specific reasons were given as to why the certificate was taken. ‘’The confiscation of the medical certificate was said to be part of a formal routine. However, afterwards, Victoire was subjected to another medical examination by the prison’s doctor, which makes us suspect that the regime is preparing a way to abrogate the certificate. At this point she can still receive food from her external contacts, but I am afraid that it will not last’’,  he told Jambonews.

Bukeye also added that his party has been receiving signs that the Kigali regime is planning to deprive Victoire from the external meals for some time, though the harassment from prison authorities has increased since her recent appeal to the African Court and the release of her book Entre les 4 murs du 1930: Notes de Mme Victoire Ingabire umuhoza 2010-2013 [Between the 4 walls of 1930: Notes from Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza 2010-2013]. He said prison authorities have questioned Victoire on many occasions about the people who bring her food. ‘’They would mock her by saying that the people who bring her food will eventually grow tired of doing it and that she was better off not bothering people to bring her meals’’, the second Vice President said, adding that even the assistant treasurer of FDU-Inkingi, Leonie Gasengayire, was unlawfully arrested and detained for 3 days when she went to bring Victoire food on March 26th.

In case Victoire is prohibited from receiving outside meals, she will have to follow the regular prison diet consisting of corn grains and a cereal drink once a day.

Worsening conditions


Central Prison of Kigali – 1930

Bukeye also expressed concerns of a possible transfer of Victoire to a remote place in Rwanda where her external contacts will not be able to reach her and her life will be in danger.

In a reaction to the SOS alert, Natacha Abingeneye, President of Jambo ASBL, said she was especially concerned about the inhumane conditions in which Victoire is being detained. ‘’I am afraid for her health if her diet restrictions are not being respected and she has no genuine access to an impartial medical evaluation. I am especially concerned about her living conditions as a woman’’, she told Jambonews. Abingeneye further denounced Victoire’s worsening detainment as ‘’yet another manoeuvre to silence a symbol for the opposition and discourage her followers’’ and claimed that authorities might be acting in a retaliatory measure in regards to her appeal to the African Court.

Victoire Ingabire is being detained in the 1930 Kigali prison since she was sentenced to 8 years by the first instance Rwandan High Court in December 2012. She appealed lin December 2013 at the Rwandan Supreme Court which upheld the conviction on charges of ‘’genocide ideology’’ and “conspiracy against the country through terrorism and war” and increased the sentence to 15 years. Human rights organisations have denounced her trial stating there was a lack of impartiality.

Last year, Victoire appealed to the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights accusing the Rwandan government of violating her rights. However, before the case could be dealt with substantively early this March, Rwanda withdrew itself from the African Court claiming Rwanda’s courts are capable of dealing with all local cases. The government also said Victoire had not yet exhausted the local judicial system.

FDU-Inkingi has now called on supporters to denounce the deprivation of meals and the abrogation of the medical certificate, which they see as ‘’attempts to finish Victoire off by the Rwandan government’’.  


Jane Nishimwe


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One Comment to “Conditions of detention worsen for Victoire Ingabire”

  1. Jyewe inkuru mbafitiye nuko ingabire yafugwa icyaburundu kandi ibyo yashaste gukorantibyamuhiriye byabengobwakafugwa kandi azawuheramo nama shyakaye.


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