Listen: Rwanda frees opposition leader, 2,100 others from prison
"Two thousand prisoners were unexpectedly released in Rwanda on Saturday. Intuited opposition leader victoire Inga beret who had been jailed in two thousand and ten within months of returning to Rwanda from Europe with a plan to run for president. She'd publicly spoken about tabu subjects the nine hundred ninety four genocide and tensions between Hutus and sees and was sentenced to fifteen years in prison for conspiracy against the authorities and for spreading rumors in order to incite people to violence, these releases come in the wake of president polka gone Gumy's overwhelming re-election in this month's elections and constitutional changes which meant he could remain in power until twenty thirty four. So why is such a high profile opposition figure being released? Dr Simon Adams is executive director of the global center full responsibility to protect which works on preventing mass atrocities around the world, he told my colleague Lisa set more about Victorian Kabiri. She was well known in exile circles, which I think is something that made her. A source of suspicion for the Rwandan government. You know, she came into the country, and then was accused of various political conspiracies, and and sent to prison whether she remains in politics or not I think remains to be seen. But certainly I think it's a positive gesture from the president of Rwanda, and hopefully will widen the political space in the country a little bit. Well, that's exactly what she said. She said she saw it as an opening of the political space. But you think the political space is still going to be severely circumscribed? I think people forget that you know, the genocide was only less than twenty five years ago in Rwanda. I just got back from there last weekend when you travel around the country, you literally still meet people, and I know people who have machete scars on their faces and on their heads and the sense of the past haunting the president is very much the reality of modern Rwanda, but I think. There is also a recognition amongst many people that they've known only tried to deal with the past. But that they have to I guess work a little bit harder to create a freer and more democratic society that they aspire to be and you think prison Kagami will allow that. Well, I think that's a very big very big question Mark, but he's clearly feeling confident coming after last year's presidential election and coming after the recent parliamentary elections where his party clearly won the changes in the country have been phenomenal economic league in and other sorts of ways. So I think there is a a sort of strength that he feels at home and abroad. And that's probably what is behind at least in part had this gesture, but he's not confident enough that he released Diana. She member Guevara. She's the businesswoman in women's rights activists who stood as an independent candidate in the last presidential election. What we don't know is why these people and why now and why he has has left other politicians opposition people in jail. I think it is a good thing for people internationally and people in Rwanda. Itself to say that the freeing of political prisoners is a positive thing. And that now hopefully will lead to a deepening of democracy in Rwanda rather than a narrowing enough. It"