Rwandan opposition leader freed

Comment on this story


iol news pic rwanda flag

Kigali - Rwandan opposition leader Charles Ntakirutinka vowed to remain critical President Paul Kagame's government as he walked free Thursday at the end of a 10-year prison sentence for incitement.

“We thought it was time for Rwanda to have some political opposition so we formed a political party,” said Ntakirutinka, who was arrested in April 2002 shortly after forming the Democratic Party for Renewal party.

“But they said our party was based on 'divisionism,' which was not true. They just didn't want any opposition,” added the 62-year-old former minister.

Ntakirutinka appeared healthy and happy at home in Kigali, crediting his good condition to the home-cooked food his wife provided in over 3 000 prison visits during his decade-long incarceration.

However, when asked if he was now afraid of speaking out critically, Ntakirutinka was defiant.

“I have to speak the truth. If that means I'll go back to prison, then I'm ready. Just take me back,” he told AFP.

Ntakirutinka was jailed on charges of “inciting civil disobedience” and “association with criminal elements” after a trial condemned by rights groups as unfair.

Rights group Amnesty International, who said his trial “fell short” of fair trial, called on Kigali to release other prisoners

“Ten years after Charles Ntakirutinka was jailed, political opponents and journalists still spend years in prison for speaking out,” Erwin van der Borght, Amnesty International's Africa Director, said in a statement.

“The Rwandan government should put promises to respect freedom of expression and association into practice”. - Sapa-AFP


sign up
 
 

Comment Guidelines



  1. Please read our comment guidelines.
  2. Login and register, if you haven’ t already.
  3. Write your comment in the block below and click (Post As)
  4. Has a comment offended you? Hover your mouse over the comment and wait until a small triangle appears on the right-hand side. Click triangle () and select "Flag as inappropriate". Our moderators will take action if need be.

     

Join us on

IOL-Social networks IOL-Social networks IOL-Social networks IOL-Social networks

Business Directory