Victoire Ingabire, Rwanda opposition leader, jailed for 'genocide denial'


Rwandan opposition leader Victoire Ingabire is pictured at her home in Kigali, Rwanda, in 2010.


Erin Conway-Smith

Victoire Ingabire, a top Rwandan opposition leader, has been jailed for eight years after being found guilty of treason and "genocide denial."

Ingabire, who is Hutu, was arrested in April 2010 shortly after returning home to Rwanda from the Netherlands where she lived for many years.

In a 2010 interview with GlobalPost, she said that deaths of Hutus during the genocide have not been investigated or acknowledged, including at the official genocide memorial in Kigali.

She described being stoned by a gang of young men outside a government office where she had gone to seek papers to register her political party, the Unified Democratic Forces (UDF).

She was barred from standing as a candidate in 2010 elections.

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President Paul Kagame and his Rwandan Patriotic Front party have been in power since the end of the 1994 genocide that killed 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus, when he led a rebel army into Kigali to expel a Hutu-led government.

But Kagame’s government is accused of becoming increasingly despotic. Human rights groups say opposition politicians, journalists and civil society activists in Rwanda have been subjected to growing crackdowns.

The Rwandan government has used accusations of “genocide ideology” or participation in the genocide as a way of discrediting those who are critical of its rule.

Ingabire, who has pushed for discussion of the Hutu genocide deaths issue “for reconciliation," maintains her trial was politically motivated.

Ingabire has been accused of links to the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, or FDLR, which she denies.

The UDF has 30 days to appeal the verdict.

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