Published: Sat, December 08, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Kagame critic 'not guilty' of inciting insurrection

Kagame critic 'not guilty' of inciting insurrection

"All charges. have been dropped". She is the rare person to publicly criticize the government from inside the East African country.

Rwigara, 37, was arrested in September 2017 after her attempt to run in Rwanda's presidential election was denied on grounds she allegedly forged the signatures of supporters for her bid.

A panel of three judges ruled that the prosecution failed to prove that Rwigara had personally forged signatures.

Her bail comes days after Kagame gave clemency to 2,140 convicts, including a woman who had also tried to run against him in the 2010 polls; Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza.

Amnesty International welcomes the acquittal of Diane Rwigara and her mother Adeline and says they should never have been charged and imprisoned for more than a year.

Rwigara together with her mother Adeline Mukangemanyi have been under incarceration over charges of inciting insurrection and forgery as allegedly discovered by the National Electoral Commission during the evaluation of nominations for the presidential elections held a year ago.

"This is a testament that all these charges against me and my mother and family members are made up".

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"I am very happy with the court decision". This was immediately followed by a raid of her family's house by the police who said they were investigating them for forgery and tax evasion.

Diane Rwigara had earlier been barred from contesting the August 2017 presidential election by the country's electoral authority.

The government in September pardoned thousands of prisoners, including an opposition party leader and a political activist, and several analysts said Kagame was loosening the country's political space.

They also ruled freedom of speech protected the Whatsapp voice notes Adeline Rwigara privately sent to relatives accusing the state of ruling through fear.

Kagame has won global praise for presiding over a peaceful and rapid economic recovery in Rwanda since the genocide that killed an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

The court also ruled that Rwigara's criticism of the government through press conferences was an exercise of her freedom of expression, guaranteed by both the constitution and worldwide law.

Criticism of the government is rarely tolerated and in 2015, he engineered a constitutional amendment which means he can hold the presidency until 2034.

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