Amnesty expresses shock over death in police custody of Rwanda gospel singer Kizito Mihigo. Kagame’s police say singer committed suicide

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Amnesty International on Monday expressed shock, anger and sadness over the death in police custody of Rwanda singer Kizito Mihigo.

President Paul Kagame‘s police force claimed the singer committed suicide in custody.

The President of The Republic of Rwanda H.E. Mr. Paul KAGAME has arrived in Sochi. Paul KAGAME will take part in the Russia–Africa Summit on 23–24 October. Photo: Donat Sorokin/TASS
The President of The Republic of Rwanda H.E. Mr. Paul KAGAME has arrived in Sochi. Paul KAGAME will take part in the Russia–Africa Summit on 23–24 October. Photo: Donat Sorokin/TASS

Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa Deprose Muchena called for an immediate and effective investigation into the shocking death.

“We are shocked and deeply saddened by the news of popular gospel singer Kizito Mihigo’s death. The Rwandan authorities have stated that he committed suicide. They must immediately launch an independent, impartial and thorough investigation to determine the cause of death – including whether it was natural or accidental, or a case of suicide or homicide.

“There must be no whitewash. The investigation should establish all the facts, including the possible involvement of others and whether prison practices and conditions caused or contributed to Kizito Mihigo’s death.”

On Friday 14 February 2020, the Rwanda Investigation Bureau confirmed that Kizito Mihigo had been arrested in Nyaruguru district close to the border with Burundi. He was accused of attempting to illegally cross into Burundi, joining “terrorist” groups and of corruption, as well breaching the terms of his release from prison in 2018. 

Kizito Mihigo had previously been close to the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front, but in April 2014 he was arrested after releasing a gospel song in which he prayed for victims of the genocide and victims of other violence.

In February 2015, he was found guilty of plotting against the government, forming a criminal group and conspiracy to commit an assassination, and was sentenced to 10 years in jail.

In 2018 he was released from prison by presidential pardon along with opposition politician, Victoire Ingabire, on condition that they report to the local prosecutor once a month, and to seek authorization before travelling abroad.

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Based in Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America, Simon leads a brilliant team of reporters, freelance journalists, analysts, researchers and contributors from around the world to run TODAY NEWS AFRICA as editor-in-chief. Simon Ateba's journalistic experience spans over 10 years and covers many beats, including business and investment, information technology, politics, diplomacy, human rights, science reporting and much more. Write him: [email protected]

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