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» 22.09.2010 - US fundamentalists "fight proxy war" in Uganda, Rwanda
» 21.04.2010 - Rwanda opposition leader arrested
» 02.03.2010 - Former Rwandan first lady arrested
» 26.02.2010 - Rwandan officer sentenced to 25 years
» 18.02.2010 - Rwanda hosts 2010 global environment day
» 11.02.2010 - Rwanda to get first eID in six months
» 10.02.2010 - Rwanda urged to cease hostilities
» 04.02.2010 - Rwandan politician attacked

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Politics | Society

Rwanda opposition leader conditionally released

afrol News, 22 April - After spending the night detained in Kigali, Rwanda's opposition candidate to the August presidential polls, Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, today was released on the condition she does not leave the capital.

Ms Ingabire was arrested yesterday morning, accused of serious crimes including contact with terrorist groups and denying the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Both charges are considered serious crimes in Rwanda, which could lead to long prison sentences.

Today, a Kigali court ruled that the opposition leader could be released conditionally while it considers whether a case should be prepared against her. Among the most serious conditions for her release was an order for Ms Ingabire not to leave the capital, which seriously could harm her planned election campaign schedule.

Ms Ingabire leads Rwanda's opposition Unified Democratic Forces (UDF) party and has been elected the UDF's candidate in the August presidential elections. There, she will challenge President Paul Kagame, leader of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), which has ruled the country since it put an end to the 1994 genocide. An estimated 900,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed during 100 days in the genocide.

According to Rwandan police, Ms Ingabire in public statements had denied genocide in speeches where she called for investigations into the killing of Hutus in the fighting that ended the genocide. She is also accused of supporting the banned FDLR rebels, said to be backers of the genocide.

The opposition leader however claims these accusations are part of a government campaign of harassment and intimidation against her and the UDF. Since she returned from exile in January, Ms Ingabire claims to have been assaulted in a public office, summoned several times to the criminal investigation department for illegal political activities and been the target of hate speech by President Kagame and pro-government media.

The ruling RPF party is increasingly pointing out that Ms Ingabire is a Hutu and has referred to her alleged family relations with armed rebels defending the genocide. Ms Ingabire has denied these relations and any contact with the rebels.

According to local and international human rights groups, attacks on the opposition and the remnants of an independent press in Rwanda are steadily increasing as the August elections approach. The groups claim conditions are not set for free and fair elections.

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