Former ambassador to the U.S. Theogene Rudasingwa says opposition leader Victoire Ingabire is a freedom fighter who should not be in jail.
A former Rwandan ambassador to the United States and former chief of staff to President Paul Kagame has called on Rwandans to continue their peaceful resistance to what he called Mr. Kagame’s state-sponsored terrorism.
This comes as a Rwandan court Tuesday denied bail to opposition leader Victoire Ingabire, who was arrested earlier this month on charges of forming a terrorist group.
Theogene Rudasingwa told VOA that Ingabire is a freedom fighter who should not be in jail.
“My comment is first of all to ask why she should be in jail because Ingabire is not a terrorist as they charged her. In My opinion, I think she’s a freedom fighter, and she’s paying a price for that,” he said.
In denying Igabire a bail Tuesday, the court said she could continue her activities and endanger state security if she were let out of jail on bail.
Rudasingwa said the court’s explanation fits the pattern of the kinds of accusations that President Kagame normally makes against his opponents.
“It’s not only Ingabire who has been called a terrorist. If you are not charged with terrorism, they say you are a criminal, you’re corrupt; they call you a genocidal. So it really fits the pattern, and the only crime that this innocent lady has committed is to speak up against the brutality of President Kagame,” Rudasingwa said.
Ingabire said through her supporters that she plans to appeal the court’s decision.
But Rudasingwa said the chances for winning an appeal in Rwandan courts are very limited.
“It simply shows that as for now Kagame has converted the country into a virtual prison, and I think he takes pride in being its chief prison guard. It’s not Ingabire who is a terrorist. It’s rather the Rwandan people versus state terrorism that is being imposed on them by President Kagame,” Rudasingwa said.
Rudasingwa called on President Kagame to release Ingabire and all political prisoners.
He also called on the international community to continue to put pressure on President Kagame to allow fundamental freedoms to flourish in Rwanda.
“We call upon the international community for whom Kagame depends for his excesses to put pressure on him indeed to make sure that he allows for fundamental freedoms to thrive in the country,” he said.
With what he called “many crimes hanging on the neck of President Kagame”, Rudasingwa said the international community should also make sure that Mr. Kagame accounts for what former envoy said are crimes being committed against the Rwandan people.