Rwanda opposition faces intimidation-rights group

Published on by KANYARWANDA

Rwanda opposition faces intimidation-rights group
Wed Feb 10, 2010 3:56pm GMT
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Ingabire rejects charges by genocide survivor groups that she is playing the "ethnic card" in an attempt to attract votes. Last week, her aide was beaten in Kigali and later jailed on an outstanding arrest warrant for alleged genocide crimes.

HRW says the circumstances suggested the assault was well coordinated and planned. UDF said the aide was working abroad during the genocide of 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

"On several occasions, the government has used accusations of participation in the genocide, or 'genocide ideology', as a way of targeting and discrediting its critics," HRW said.

Freedom of speech remains a delicate issue in a country where corruption of the media and the political endorsement of ethnic hatred during the early 1990s lead to the genocide, following years of dictatorship.

Frank Habineza, head of the Democratic Green Party which is largely comprised of ex-RPF, told Reuters his members had been detained without charge and beaten up. He said attempts to register his party also had been "sabotaged".

"There has been much intimidation at local levels," he said. "We think the government is failing to control the situation."

Senior government officials were in a meeting and not immediately available to comment, aides said.


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