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HRW: Rwanda military routinely tortures detainees

[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] alleged [report] Tuesday that Rwanda's military routinely tortures unlawfully detained individuals through various different methods.

The report alleges that Rwandan judges and prosecutors have been ignoring complaints from both current and former detainees in which they claimed they were tortured through beatings, electrical shocks, strangulation, and mock executions. Their actions, HRW argues, has created a sense of impunity among those carrying these acts out.

In the report, HRW confirms a total of 104 cases of torture or ill-treatment among individuals that were illegally detained by Rwanda's military. HRW states that due to the secretive nature of this conduct, the number of instances of torture is likely much higher. Many of the detained individuals were accused of conspiring with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) [UN backgrounder], a terrorist group that has been accused of numerous violations of international law, including the killing of unarmed women and children in armed conflict, rape and forced displacement. Other detainees were accused of working with the Rwanda National Congress (RNC) [official website], a political group that has been exiled by the current Rwandan government. Not all detainees were confirmed to be affiliated with these groups. The torture is often carried out in hopes that detainees will confess to crimes HRW alleges they did not commit and to implicate others in said crimes.

HRW also produced a video in which they interview former detainees and lay out what they allege is the current situation in Rwanda.

HRW is now calling on the UN and Rwandan officials to take immediate action to curtail these instances of torture.

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