September 28, 2021

Kayumba Christopher: RIB Station, Police DPC Confiscated My Medical and Legal Documents

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Appearing for the second time for hearing of his case, Dr Kayumba Christopher, founding leader of the Rwandese Platform for Democracy (RPD), has told court that his detainers are blocking his rights.

In a virtual session at Kagarama Primary Court in Kicukiro which started more than six hours late, as it was to start 9am but began after 3pm, Kayumba informed court he is unable to continue with case because he never prepared.

Last week, Kayumba also appeared but was too ill after being on hunger strike for 10 days. Court scheduled today.

Prosecution was supposed to formally charge him and ask court to remand him to prison for the customary 30 days. It was expected that Kayumba would seek bail.

However, when the session opened this afternoon, Kayumba and his lawyer Ntirenganya Seif raised four grounds for which the case cannot continue.

First Kayumba said he is still gravely ill, unable to participate in court proceedings. He said he had not received sufficient treatment and had not met his personal doctor.

Secondly, Kayumba said he had not accessed his prosecution dossier to be able to prepare as it had been confiscated by the DPC (district police commander). He is being held at Kicukiro RIB station.

‘The DPC told me that the court has no jurisdiction over where I’m being held so they could do anything to me,’ said Kayumba.

Thirdly, Kayumba said he was not allowed to speak in private with his lawyer. Each time they met, unknown people stood guard over them which prevents free communication between the client and lawyer.

Kayumba also told court he had been denied access to items like paper and pens to prepare his defense. ‘They told me I should cram everything in my head,’ he told the court.

Inside the court was a single Judge, journalists and other people, while Kayumba and his lawyer were at RIB facility. The prosecution team was also at its office. The session was held using only audio, no images.

After Kayumba raising his concerns, prosecution dismissed them all.

The prosecutor said Kayumba was in hospital and was discharged as he had recovered. Prosecution also said he had been granted full access to his dossier including today from 8am to 3pm before the start of the hearings.

Prosecution also informed court that contrary to Kayumba’s claims, he had full access to his lawyer without presence of anyone as they discussed.

At that point, Kayumba responded that the Prosecutor was giving his opinions not what is prescribed in law.

During the last aborted hearing on September 23, Kayumba raised similar concerns. The court directed prosecution and RIB and other instances not to block Kayumba from accessing his rights.

Today, Kayumba was informing the court that none of what had been ruled, had been respected.

After submissions from both sides, the judge dismissed all Kayumba’s concerns. First, he said there was no evidence anyone had confiscated his prosecution dossier. Secondly, that there was no evidence he was still ill as he was even able to attend court.

As to concerns that Kayumba was not being allowed to meet his lawyer in private, the judge said there was no evidence.

With regards to issue of not being provided with paper and pens in the RIB cell to be able to prepare his defense, the Judge said it was the responsibility of the defense lawyer to provide such materials.

As conclusion, the Judge dismissed all Kayumba’s concerns and ordered that the hearings begin.

Prosecution went ahead to read his charge sheet and explaining why he cannot be released as he could interfere with witnesses and intimidate victims.

He is charged in relation to two women. One claims rape and the other attempted rape. One is a former housemaid and another a former student at the University of Rwanda.

The session went on till about 7pm. At some point the Skype connection jammed.

Court has set October 5 to rule on bail.

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