N'oublions pas Deo Mushayidi toujours en prison à Kigali
Index: AFR 47/001/2010
Issue Date: 10 March 2010
POLITICIAN ARRESTED, RISK OF ILL-TREATMENT
Rwandan politician Deogratias Mushayidi has been detained since 5 March. He has been allowed no contact with his lawyer, and he is at risk of ill-treatment.
Deogratias (usually known as Deo) Mushayidi is the Chairman of a political party, the Pact for People's Defence (PDP). It was founded in Belgium, and is active with Rwandans living abroad, but not registered in Rwanda. He was head of the Rwandan Journalists' Association from 1996 to 2000. He is an outspoken critic of the Rwandan government.
He was detained in Burundi on 3 March by the Burundian security forces, who handed him over to Rwanda two days later. It is not clear whether he was formally extradited.
The Rwandan authorities have told national broadcaster Radio Rwanda that Deogratias Mushayidi is wanted in connection with recent grenade attacks in Kigali. He is accused of a number of serious offences, including terrorism, but it is not clear whether he has actually been charged. He has not yet been brought before a court.
The Rwandan Police confirmed to Amnesty International on 9 March that Deogratias Mushayidi is detained at Kicukiro Police Station. They said that his right to access a lawyer and other visitors would be respected. However, his lawyer has so far been refused access to him. An international human rights group and some of his friends did not receive authorization either to visit him.
Deogratias Mushayidi fled Rwanda in 2000 and sought asylum in Belgium. From exile, he has been an outspoken critic of the Rwandan government. He formed the Pact for Peoples Defence in November 2008. In recent months, he is known to have travelled to Tanzania.
On 19 February, there were three simultaneous grenade attacks in Kigali. Less than two weeks later, on 4 March, there were two further near-simultaneous grenade attacks in Kigali. Rwandan police investigations into the attacks are underway, and it is in connection with these attacks that Deogratias Mushayidi has been arrested.
The attacks came amid rising tension as Rwanda prepares for presidential elections due to take place in August. Amnesty International has condemned recent intimidation of opposition groups and urged the authorities to respect the right of opposition parties to freedom of expression, freedom of association and peaceful assembly.