Accusations of Torture in Rwandan Prisons
June 15, 2022
Cited article by Human Rights Watch
HRRC calls for the immediate release of those imprisoned for criticizing the Rwandan government. Freedom of expression is a human right. Further, reports of torture and ongoing threats to journalists' and prisoners' lives must be thoroughly investigated, and those responsible be held accountable.
Two former Rwandan prisoners, one a prominent YouTube commentator, have accused prison authorities of torturing them and intercepting privileged information from reaching one of their attorneys. Currently imprisoned are two journalists, three commentators, and 16 activists. The majority of these people have been convicted after politically-motivated trials, while the other trials are ongoing. Those imprisoned have been convicted of speaking out against the current Rwandan government's human rights record and abuses by security forces.
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), scheduled to begin on June 20, 2022 in Kigali, Rwanda, will bring 54 independent and equal nations together to discuss important matters. Already, Rwandan journalists have received anonymous phone calls threatening that they will be punished after the CHOGM, and those remaining in custody stated prison staff have threatened them with death. Commonwealth leaders should urge the Rwandan government to release those still imprisoned ahead of the CHOGM, and request the allegations of torture and withholding of legal rights be thoroughly investigated.