Rwanda high court acquits Kagame critic, Diane Rwigara

Ms Rwigara says she was targeted by the state

After spending one year in a Rwandan prison waiting for the country's high court to decide on her case, Diane Rwigara feared the worst.

A Rwandan court acquitted an aspiring presidential contender and fierce critic of President Paul Kagame of charges of inciting a public insurrection and forging electoral documents.

Rwigara's mother was also acquitted of charges of inciting insurrection and discrimination.

In Thursday's ruling, the high court judges said the prosecution failed to prove that Ms Rwigara had personally forged supporters' signatures and ruled that her criticism of the government during press conferences was protected by freedom of speech in both the constitution and global law.

"All charges. have been dropped".

It also ruled that although the documents presented to the national electoral commission had indications of forged signatures, it was upon the prosecution to prove that she personally meant to forge the signatures, which it did not.

Rwigara and her family faced a series of arrests without specified charges.

Her 44-year old campaign manager, Thadeyo Muyenzi, went missing and has still not been found.

Two days after announcing her candidacy, Rwigara was hit with a scandal as nude pictures believed to be hers speculated on social media.

President Kagame won the 2017 election with over 98 per cent of the votes, securing a third term in office and extending his 17 years in power.

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

Ingabire leads an unregistered opposition party, the FDU-Inkigi, and she was freed along with several other prisoners, including singer Kizito Mihigo, convicted and jailed in 2015 for plotting to kill Kagame. "So yes, you do pay a price for speaking out in this country".

Kagame is praised for leading Rwanda's recovery from the 1994 genocide and for advances in economic development and women's rights, but critics say he does not tolerate criticism.

However, human rights groups and others have exhausted of his increasingly autocratic style.

He became president in 2000, a post he might hold until 2034 thanks to a constitutional amendment made three years ago.

But today, a court in Kigali dropped all the the charges against her and her mother, calling them "baseless".

"We call on the Rwandan authorities to build on this judgment and work towards developing greater tolerance and acceptance of alternative and critical views".

Related News:



Most liked

US coal consumption drops to lowest level since 1979 | AP business
Only a decade ago, there were almost 1,500 coal plant electric generators in the United States that produced about 313 gigawatts. President Trump campaigned on a promise to bring back coal jobs and lift regulations he said were throttling the US economy.

Will Smith kicks off 2018's YouTube Rewind - Film & TV
Subscribe to n3rdabl3 on YouTube! This is up from a year ago , when half of the top 10 videos were locally produced. If you're looking to catch up on 2018's hottest memes and trends or relive your favorites, look no further.

Lyft beats bigger rival Uber in filing for IPO
The number of shares on offer and the price range for the proposed offering have not yet been determined, Lyft said. The SEC filing escalates the company's rivalry with Uber, which has been struggling with scandals.

Virat Kohli booed by Australian fans; Head, Ponting critical of crowd behaviour
I thought Ashwin bowled really well, mixed up his pace a lot, bowled a few different variations with side spin and over spin. The offspinner took three wickets - all of them left-handed batsmen - while keeping one end tight during a 22-over spell.

China’s trade surplus with USA reaches record level
On Thursday and again on Friday , Trump tweeted that talks with China are going well. It would also begin buying products from USA farmers "immediately", the U.S. said.

Raptors release former NCAA assist leader after domestic violence charge
TMZ notes that Felder and the woman got into an argument the night before, resulting in him choking her and leaving visible marks. The identity of the woman has not yet been made public, but multiple sources say that Felder apparently has known her for years.

SpaceX launches cargo, but fails to land rocket
In addition, this should not distract from the fact that the launch itself went by the numbers. Canadarm2 ) to capture the Dragon spacecraft and attach it to the orbiting laboratory.

Diogo Dalot is still optimistic about Manchester United’s season
Both teams showed lots of fight in a frantic and often feisty encounter which saw Unai Emery's Arsenal rack up a 20th unbeaten game in all competitions.

Hearn: Wilder Must Fight Joshua Next or We Might Miss The Boat
American Wilder has questioned Jack Reiss' count but Reiss says he wanted to give Fury "every opportunity". Fury also confirmed they are aiming to hold the rematch in the summer of 2019.

Tobacco giant Altria makes massive bet on cannabis
There is also a warrant giving Altria the right to purchase additional shares at $14.25 a share over the next four years. A wave of cannabis producers have set up shop in Canada , where recreational use was legalised earlier this year.

6 dead, dozens hurt in club stampede in Italy
The ages of the victims were not immediately given and it was not yet clear how many people were inside when the stampede erupted. Some survivors were quoted by Italian media as saying at least one fire exit was blocked when concertgoers tried to get out.

France girds for weekend protests, fearing more violence
But he too described the videos as "shocking", telling Franceinfo radio: "It's right to be angry, looking at these images". Shops, schools and some other public venues are set to close over fears of clashes between police and the protesters.

Tiger keen to be US playing captain
Only Hale Irwin has played the Presidents Cup as a captain when he performed dual roles for the U.S.in the inaugural 1994 event. The only time in the 24-year Presidents Cup history that the U.S. team has tasted defeat was at Royal Melbourne back in 1998.

Italian police arrest new head of Sicilian mafia
Italian media showed pictures of the white-haired, bespectacled Mineo being led away by police, his handcuffed hands hidden beneath a coat.

California bar shooting: Sheriff's deputy killed by friendly fire
At the news conference on Friday, authorities painted a clearer picture of the events leading to Ventura County Sheriff's Sgt. But it was a sixth bullet - one that entered Helus' chest and struck his heart - that proved fatal.