Dutch accuse Rwanda opposition leader's husband of genocide

3rd October 2014, Comments 0 comments

The husband of a jailed Rwandan opposition leader faces a "death sentence" if he is sent back to Rwanda after Dutch authorities accused him of involvement in the 1994 genocide, his lawyer said Friday.

The Dutch immigration and naturalisation service IND last week sent a letter to Lin Muyizere, the husband of jailed Rwanda regime critic Victoire Ingabire, saying they would take away his Dutch passport because of the accusation.

Muyizere's lawyer, Jan Hofdijk, said that the charges came from Kigali and were politically motivated after his wife was jailed in December for 15 years after trying to stand in an election against President Paul Kagame.

Arrested in October 2010, months after returning from 16 years in exile in the Netherlands, Ingabire was an outspoken critic of Kagame's iron-fisted rule.

"There are two anonymous witnesses who say some very vague things that cannot ever be checked because they remain anonymous," Hofdijk said of the accusations against Muyizere.

"Based on that they want to withdraw his passport," the lawyer said.

With no Dutch passport, Muyizere would likely be expelled to Rwanda, Hofdijk said, accusing the Dutch authorities of a "low-cost extradition" process.

- 'This is a death sentence' -

"My conclusion is that this is a death sentence," he claimed.

"If he's sent back to Rwanda, perhaps with his 12-year-old son, who's never been to Rwanda, then there he will be political prey for Kagame... another way to put pressure on Victoire," Hofdijk said.

A spokewoman for the IND, which is part of the Dutch justice ministry, told AFP that it did not generally comment on individual cases.

According to a copy of the IND letter seen by AFP, Muyizere "received orders to go to Kigali and 'warm people up' ahead of killing their Tutsi neighbours" in 1994.

"He and the members of his group carried weapons. He knew about the removal from Kigali of many Tutsi bodies by truck," it said.

Despite being credited with overseeing dramatic economic advances while in office, Kagame has come under mounting criticism for suppressing dissent, including the alleged assassinations of exiled opposition figures.

Western nations supported Kagame after the 1994 Tutsi genocide but have increasingly been critical due to his government's treatment of critics and alleged interference in Democratic Republic of Congo.

In June, Washington said it was "deeply concerned by the arrest and disappearance of dozens of Rwandan citizens" as well as "credible reports" of threats to journalists.

Rwanda's Supreme Court in December sentenced Ingabire, 46, to 15 years in jail on appeal, increasing her prison term from eight years for conspiring against the authorities.

The court upheld previous convictions for "conspiracy in harming authorities through terrorism and war" and for minimising Rwanda's 1994 genocide, in which at least 800,000 people were killed by troops and extremists of the Hutu majority.

A Hutu, Ingabire left Rwanda for the Netherlands for economic training in March 1994, just two weeks before the shooting down of the airplane of Hutu president Juvenal Habyarimana which triggered the genocide.

She was later joined by her husband and granted asylum in the Netherlands in 1995, where she worked as an accountant for an American company.

© 2014 AFP

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