Rwandan court drops charges against opposition politician Rwigara

Remigio Civitarese
Dicembre 8, 2018

Rwigara remained defiant despite facing a 22-year jail sentence and maintain she will vociferously champion human rights being trampled by Kagame.

Diane Rwigara was facing charges of inciting insurrection against the government and forgery of electoral documents, on account of which she was disqualified from the presidential race in 2017.

The outspoken young politician was an unusual voice of criticism in tightly run Rwanda ahead of the August 2017 election and had already been the victim of a smear campaign when nude pictures, purporting to be of her, were shared online.

Rwigara's mother was also acquitted of charges of inciting insurrection and discrimination. I am continuing with my political journey ...everything I talked about in the past has not been resolved.

Critics still see Ms Rwigara's arrest and detention, and the auctioning of her assets, as a continuation of a trend of intimidation against anyone who opposes the government.

Ms Rwigara, who is described as "fearless" by those close to her, is not about to apologise for attempting to hold Rwanda's leaders to account.

Diane Rwigara: Woman faced 22 years in jail for criticising her government
Rwandan court acquits the Rwigaras

The acquittal could be a sign of widening political space in the East African nation where rights activists say dissent is not tolerated.

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.

We got her reaction to today's verdict. "There are still many political prisoners in the country", Reuters reports Ms Rwigara as saying. But he is also accused of extreme authoritarianism, including pursuing dissidents who have fled the country.

Opposition leader Victoire Ingabire was released from prison this year having served time for "conspiracy against the country through terrorism and war" and "genocide denial". Human rights organisations welcomed this, saying it showed that "Rwanda may be turning a new leaf", but said the arrests, executions, disappearances and torture would have to end to prove that the change was meaningful.

Since Rwigara's arrest previous year, her brothers and sister have been interrogated, family assets have been forcibly auctioned to pay off a multi-million dollar tax claim, while a hotel the family owned was demolished for allegedly failing to abide by city guidelines.

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