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New report documents attacks on Rwandan opponents and critics abroad

Supporters of the Rwanda National Congress, an opposition party that exiled former Rwandan intelligence chief Patrick Karegeya helped formed in 2011, carry a makeshift coffin as they protest outside the Rwandan embassy in Pretoria after Karegeya was found murdered in a Johannesburg hotel room, 9 January 2014.
Supporters of the Rwanda National Congress, an opposition party that exiled former Rwandan intelligence chief Patrick Karegeya helped formed in 2011, carry a makeshift coffin as they protest outside the Rwandan embassy in Pretoria after Karegeya was found murdered in a Johannesburg hotel room, 9 January 2014.

REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Human Rights Watch has issued a new report about attacks and threats against Rwandan opponents and critics abroad, spanning the period of 1996 to 2014. The most recent case was the murder of Patrick Karegeya, a prominent Rwandan dissident who was found dead in Johannesburg, South Africa, on January 1, 2014.

The report, “Repression Across Borders,” illustrates the persistence of attacks on Rwandan opponents and critics in exile since the current government of Rwanda has been in power.

It provides information about earlier cases, such as the assassination of a former interior minister, Seth Sendashonga, in Kenya in 1998, that bear similarities to recent cases, such as Karegeya's. These attacks have occurred in the context of continuing abuses against government opponents and critics inside Rwanda.

The report coincides with the resumption of the trial in a military court in Kigali, the Rwandan capital, of Joel Mutabazi, a Rwandan refugee who was forcibly returned to Rwanda from Uganda in October 2013 and whose case Human Rights Watch has featured.

Governments of countries where Rwandan dissidents have taken refuge should heighten the protection of those who may have well-founded fears for their security in exile, Human Rights said. These countries should also thoroughly investigate attacks and threats on their territory. The Rwandan government should cooperate fully with such investigations.

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