Mary Harf, Deputy Department Sporkesperson, Office of Sporkesperson Washngton, DC. June 4, 2014
The United States is deeply concerned by the arrest and disappearance of dozens of Rwandan citizens in Rwanda over the past two months. Rwandan authorities held individuals incommunicado for periods up to two months before presenting them to a court of law. We are encouraged that Rwandan authorities have recently taken steps to bring a number of these individuals before a court. Nonetheless, the United States remains concerned that additional individuals may still be held incommunicado and without due process of law. We are also concerned by credible reports that individual journalists were threatened, and that the Government of Rwanda ordered the suspension of a call-in radio program that provided citizens with a platform to discuss current events.
The United States calls upon the Government of Rwanda to account for individuals arrested over the past two months and currently in custody, and to respect the rights under Rwandan law and international human rights law of the individuals detained and arrested. We also call upon Rwanda to fully respect freedom of expression, including for members of the press so that they can investigate, report, and facilitate discussion on issues of public concern.
The United States supports all lawful efforts to identify individuals who seek to use violence against the Rwandan people and government, but stresses that, in democratic societies, individuals may not be arbitrarily arrested or detained and are entitled to due process of law to certain minimum guarantees, including to challenge the legality of their detention before a court of law and to be informed of charges and examine witnesses against them.