Friday, June 24, 2011

Rwanda: Unsafe to speak out

By Tom Gibson, Amnesty Internationals Central and East Africa Campaigner
June 23, 2011

Rwandan president Paul Kagame holds a press conference in Kigali, Rwanda, Monday, Aug. 9 2010. © AP Photo / Margaret Cappa
Rwandan president Paul Kagame holds a press conference in Kigali, Rwanda, Monday, Aug. 9 2010. © AP Photo / Margaret Cappa

Freedom of expression in Rwanda has been unduly restricted for many years. The killings of a political opponent and a journalist in 2010 indicate how people who criticize the authorities are often at risk.

We believe the Rwandan government should re-open the investigation into the killings of Jean-Leonard Rugambage and André Kagwa Rwisereka by establishing two separate independent commissions of enquiry.

One year ago, Rwandan journalist and deputy editor of the Kinyarwanda newspaper Umuvugizi, Jean-Leonard Rugambage, was shot dead outside his home in Kigali on 24 June 2010. There is no evidence that Rwandan police have explored those leads into the killing of Jean-Leonard Rugambage that pointed towards it being politically motivated.

20 days later, on 14 July 2010, André Kagwa Rwisereka, vice president of the opposition Democratic Green Party, was found dead in Butare, southern Rwanda. He had been beheaded. No-one has been brought to justice for André Kagwa Rwisereka’s murder. The police opened investigations, but the prosecution claim to have insufficient evidence to press charges.

The months leading up to the August 2010 presidential elections, which President Kagame won with 93 per cent of the vote, were marked by a clampdown on freedom of expression and association. Help us speak up for freedom of expression and mark these key dates.

Take action by…

Joining our call to allow criticism to be voiced in #Rwanda.

Copy and paste the messages below & send them to @PaulKagame on 2 key dates:

24 June
@PaulKagame: I’m calling on the Rwandan authorities to re-open the investigation into #Rugambage’s murder 1 year ago

With a follow-up tweet linking to the page with instructions for others who want to take the action:


Join me & message the Rwandan authorities to re-open the investigation into #Rugambage’s killing @PaulKagame. http://bit.ly/kagameAI


14 July

@PaulKagame: I’m calling on the Rwandan authorities to re-open the investigation into
#Rwisereka’s murder 1 year ago

With a follow-up tweet linking to the page with instructions for others who want to take the action:


Join me & message the Rwandan authorities to re-open the investigation into #Rwisereka’s killing @PaulKagame. http://bit.ly/kagameAI


Disclaimer – Amnesty International has specified the example tweets and is not responsible for alternative messages sent by users.

If President Kagame responds to individuals, users are recommended to send him a link to the campaign:
http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AFR47/002/2011/en/ef7cd1a3-d1db-46da-b569-818b7555b83b/afr470022011en.pdf

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