Rwandan court acquits former opposition leader of opposition

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KIGALI, Rwanda


The high court in Rwanda has acquitted the country’s highest-profile opposition leader Diane Rwigara of charges that included forgery and inciting insurrection.

Rwigara was imprisoned after her arrest in September 2017.

An accountant by profession, Rwigara was arrested after she tried to run against the country’s President Paul Kagame in the Presidential elections in 2017.

Local media reported that she [Rwigara] was not allowed to run after the electoral commission cancelled her post following accusations of forged signatures of supporters.

The insurrection charge against Rwigara stems from critical comments she made against Kagame and his government before the election.

She repeatedly accused Kagame of stifling dissent and denounced Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front’s tight control of the country since it assumed control after ending genocide in the east African country in 1994.

All charges have been dropped,” the three judge panel said in their ruling. “The court finds that the prosecution charges were baseless.”

Rwigara said after the ruling she was “very happy” with the decision and vowed to continue her “political journey.”

Her mother and daughter also were acquitted of inciting insurrection and promoting discrimination.

Both women denied all charges that were placed against them.

Following her verdict, the Rwandan government said in a statement it “respects the court’s verdict” and will “carefully study its implications.”

It added that “It will continue to vigorously enforce our laws on electoral integrity, public safety, and respect for the judiciary.”