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Rwanda kills suspects for alleged petty crime

Story from: CAJ News Africa

download (8)From PHYLLIS BIRORI in Kigali, Rwanda
KIGALI, (CAJ News) – RWANDAN state security forces are accused of executing at least 37 suspects and forcibly disappearing four others for petty offences.
Most victims were accused of stealing items such as bananas while others were implicated in stealing a cow or a motorcycle.
Some suspects were accused of smuggling marijuana, illegally crossing the border from the Democratic Republic of Congo or of using illegal fishing nets.
Two men were reportedly killed after local authorities encouraged
residents to kill thieves.
Human Rights Watch said victims were killed without any effort at due
process to establish their guilt or bring them to justice, and none posed
any imminent threat to life that could have otherwise justified the use of
lethal force against them.
Daniel Bekele, senior director for advocacy, said the killings and
enforced disappearances dating back to April last year appear to have been part of a broader strategy to spread fear, enforce order and deter any resistance to government orders or policies.
“Fighting petty crime or offenses by committing murder doesn’t build the rule of law, but only reinforces a climate of fear. The Rwandan
authorities should immediately halt the killings and bring those
responsible to justice,” Bekele said.
Authorities denied extrajudicial executions but confirmed some people had been killed while crossing the border from Congo because of a “security issue.”
The killings occurred ahead of Rwanda’s presidential elections, scheduled for August 4.
Opponents of President Paul Kagame have complained of harassment, threats and intimidation.
CAJ News

 

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