Kagame’s critic Diane Rwigara ac­quit­ted

Business Daily (Kenya) - - TOP NEWS -

A Rwan­dan court in the cap­i­tal, Ki­gali, has ac­quit­ted gov­ern­ment critic Diane Rwigara and her mother of charges of in­cit­ing in­sur­rec­tion and forgery.

Ms Rwigara has been im­pris­oned for over a year, after be­ing barred from run­ning in pres­i­den­tial elec­tions against the long-stand­ing in­cum­bent Paul Kagame.

The Rwan­dan politi­cian de­nied the charges, which she had said were po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated.

A three-judge panel told a packed court all the charges were "base­less".

Ms Rwigara was barred from run­ning in last year's elec­tion, and was later ar­rested on ac­cu­sa­tions of forgery and in­cit­ing in­sur­rec­tion.

Rwan­dan author­i­ties in June auc­tioned off as­sets from the fam­ily busi­ness.

Ms Rwigara is a renowned women's ac­tivist in Rwanda and her fam­ily says their prob­lems be­gan with her de­ci­sion to con­test the pres­i­dency. Her bid was un­suc­cess­ful when she was dis­qual­i­fied after in­ves­ti­ga­tors al­leged Ms Rwigara had com­mit­ted an elec­toral of­fence by col­lect­ing forged sig­na­tures to en­dorse her can­di­dacy.

She de­nied the al­le­ga­tion, say­ing that she met all the re­quire­ments to run.

Ms Rwigara was ar­rested with her mother, Ade­line Rwigara, in Septem­ber 2017 at their home in the cap­i­tal, Ki­gali.

Her mother also faced charges of in­cit­ing in­sur­rec­tion.

Pres­i­dent Kagame won the elec­tion that year with 98.63 per cent of the vote. He has been praised for bring­ing eco­nomic sta­bil­ity to the coun­try fol­low­ing the 1994 geno­cide, in which some 800,00 eth­nic Tut­sis and mod­er­ate Hu­tus were killed by Hutu ex­trem­ists.

But hu­man rights groups ac­cuse him of sup­press­ing demo­cratic op­po­nents and muz­zling the in­de­pen­dent me­dia.

--AFP

Diane Rwigara.

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