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UA 05/91 - Rwanda: death under torture: Alfred Chafubire

, Index number: AFR 47/002/1991

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AFR 47/02/91
Distr: UA/SC
UA 05/91 Death under Torture 10 January 1991
RWANDA: Alfred Chafubire, an Episcopal Church pastor
Amnesty International has just learned that Pastor Alfred Chafubire, director of
a secondary school at Gahini in the southern region (prefecture) of Kibungo, died
in custody on 6 December 1990, reportedly as a result of torture.
Gahini is located near Akagera National Park where fighting has taken place
between government troops and Uganda-based Rwandese rebels who attacked northeast
Rwanda in early October 1990. Alfred Chafubire was a member of the Tutsi ethnic
group which plays a dominant role in the rebel force. He was first arrested in
October 1990 and released after a few days. He was rearrested on 6 December and
taken to a detention centre in Rwamagana town in eastern Rwanda where he reportedly
died the same day. On 7 December, his body's limbs were reportedly observed to
be swollen, apparently showing signs of severe torture which may have led to his
death. The security forces reportedly claimed that Alfred Chafubire's name was
on a list of rebel sympathizers found on the body of a rebel killed in battle.
The authorities are not known to have carried out any investigation to establish
the cause of Alfred Chafubire's death or to have taken any action against those
responsible for his death.
Since mass arrests of suspected rebel sympathizers and others began in early
October 1990, there have been numerous reports of detainees being subjected to
beatings or other ill-treatment. However, this is the first such report of death
under torture. Thirteen detainees arrested in connection with the rebellion were
tried on 3 January 1991 by the State Security Court. Some of them told the court
that they were beaten and ill-treated by members of the security forces in order
to confess their guilt but the court did not investigate or consider the allegations.
They had no access to legal assistance and on 7 January one of them was sentenced
to death while nine others were sentenced to long prison terms.
Amnesty International is concerned that Alfred Chafubire appears to have been
subjected to torture, leading to his death. Although his death occurred in
suspicious circumstances, the authorities are not known to have opened a formal
investigation, as required by law. By failing to do so, the authorities appear
to be condoning the use of torture. The organization is also concerned that
allegations of unlawful killings carried out by government troops in other parts
of the country currently under government control remain uninvestigated and this
may lead to government forces believing that they can commit further human rights
abuses with impunity.
The violent attack launched on northeast Rwanda at the beginning of October 1990
resembles several others carried out in the early 1960s by Rwandese exiles based
in Uganda and other neighbouring countries. The attacks followed the overthrow
in 1959 of the Tutsi monarch by Hutu politicians and subsequent intercommunal violence
which led to the killing of hundreds and the flight to exile of tens of thousands
of Tutsi. These exiles were responsible for the attacks in the early 1960s and
also for the October 1990 attack. As a result of a major incursion by Tutsi insurgents
in 1963, prisoners supporting the Tutsi cause who were already in detention were
executed extrajudicially: it also provoked mass killings of Tutsi throughout the
At the end of October 1990 government troops regained control of most of the
towns occupied by rebels. However, rebel bands are reported still to be active
in various parts of northern Rwanda.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telexes/telegrams/faxes/airmail letters, in French if possible:
- expressing concern about the reported death under torture of Alfred Chafubire
in Rwamagana on 6 December 1990, and calling for a full inquiry into the causes
of his death and into reports that he was tortured;
- inquiring if any information is available about the causes and circumstances of
his death;
- urging the authorities to investigate all reports of the torture or beating of
prisoners and suggesting that an independent and competent commission of inquiry
be set up to receive and investigate reports of torture and other human rights abuses
committed by the security forces in all parts of the country;
- urging that any security personnel incriminated in torture, beating or killing
prisoners be suspended from duty while their cases are investigated with a view
to their being prosecuted and punished;
- calling on the authorities to issue clear and public instructions to all members
of the security forces and others responsible for custody of prisoners reminding
them that torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, including
beatings, are illegal and prohibited at all times.
Son Excellence Président HABYARIMANA Juvénal
Président de la République
BP 15
Kigali, République Rwandaise
Telegrams: President Habyarimana, Kigali, Rwanda
Telexes: 22517
Faxes: + 250 74583
Monsieur MUGEMANA Jean-Marie Vianney
Ministre de l'Intérieur et du développement communal
Ministère de l'Intérieur
BP 446
Kigali, République Rwandaise
Telegrams: Ministre Mugemana, Kigali, Rwanda
Telexes: 22502
Monsieru MUJYANAMA Théoneste
Ministre de la Justice
Ministère de la Justice
BP 160
Kigali, République Rwandaise
Telegrams: Ministre Mujyanama, Kigali, Rwanda
Telexes: 22502
Monsieur le Docteur BIZIMUNGU Casimir
Ministre des Affaires étrangères et de la coopération
Ministère des Affaires étrangères
BP 179
Kigali, République Rwandaise
Telegrams: Ministre des Affaires etrangeres, Kigali, Rwanda
Telexes: 22502
Faxes: + 250 72902; + 250 72904
- Rédacteur-en-Chef, Imvaho, BP 83, Kigali, République Rwandaise
- Rédacteur-en-Chef, Kinyamateka, BP 761, Kigali, République Rwandaise
- Rédacteur-en-Chef, La Relève, Office rwandaise d'information, BP 83,
Kigali, République Rwandaise
and to diplomatic representatives of Rwanda in your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your
section office, if sending appeals after 21 February 1991.

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