Rwanda free­ing 2,140, in­clud­ing dis­si­dent

The Dallas Morning News - - World -

A prom­i­nent op­po­si­tion leader and a pop­u­lar gospel musician, both im­pris­oned af­ter an­ger­ing the govern­ment of Rwanda, walked free Satur­day af­ter of­fi­cials said that more than 2,100 in­mates would be re­leased.

Pres­i­dent Paul Kagame and his govern­ment, which has a record of sup­press­ing dis­sent and jail­ing crit­ics, gave no in­di­ca­tion what prompted the free­ing of the pris­on­ers, whose de­ten­tion had drawn in­ter­na­tional con­dem­na­tion.

The Cabi­net and the Min­istry of Jus­tice re­leased terse state­ments Fri­day night that Kagame had granted clemency to 2,140 peo­ple and that the Cabi­net had ap­proved.

Sup­port­ers of Vic­toire Ingabire Umuhoza, leader of the op­po­si­tion party FDU-Inkingi and once a chal­lenger to Kagame for the pres­i­dency, and Kiz­ito Mi­higo, an ac­tivist and well-known singer, musician and com­poser, posted pho­tos of them­selves leav­ing Nyaru­genge Prison in Kigali.

It was not clear how many of the peo­ple who were be­ing re­leased had been im­pris­oned on po­lit­i­cal charges.

Ingabire has spo­ken openly about the 1994 geno­cide and the ten­sions be­tween the Hutu and Tutsi eth­nic groups that fu­eled it — both taboo top­ics.

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