26 April 2012

Rwanda: Prosecution Seeks Life for Ingabire

Prosecution is seeking the maximum sentence, life, for Victoire Ingabire on charges of terrorism, threatening state security, divisionism, genocide ideology and denial.

Ingabire is also charged with financing and formatting a terrorist and armed group, and planning to cause state insecurity and divisionism.

She is jointly accused with former commanders in the D.R. Congo based Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) militia, Capt. Jean Marie Vianney Karuta, Maj. Vital Uwumuremyi, Lt. Col Tharcisse Nditurende and Lt. Col Noel Habiyakare.

"We also request a jail sentence of ten years to be handed to each of the four accomplices," said Deputy Prosecutor General, Alphonse Hitiyaremye,

Hitiyaremye, however, requested the judge to consider that the four accomplices entered a guilt plea from the beginning of the case and have since been cooperative in the course of the entire trial.

Ingabire secret plea bargain

Ingabire recently served the High Court with a letter claiming that the Prosecutor General summoned her to his offices and told her she had become a victim for causing a political stand-off in the country.

The Court requested the Prosecution team made up of Hitiyaramye, Alain Mukuralinda and Bonaventure Ruberwa to explain the letter.

"First of all, I would like to complain the very unprofessional manner in which Ingabire's lawyer, Gatera Gashabana, has conducted himself. He stood by his client while she was lying to the court yet he clearly knew that Ingabire requested for an appointment with the Prosecutor General," said Ruberwa.

He added that Gashabana first met with the Prosecutor General and informed him that his client wished to meet with him in private.

The Prosecutor General told Gashabana to inform Ingabire that she can only meet him if she was accompanied by her lawyer, he added.

"Gashabana returned to the Prosecutor General and informed him that Ingabire had accepted to come with her lawyer," Ruberwa told the Court.

"This is clear. Gashabana fixed the appointment. The court can prove that by summoning him."

"During the meeting between the suspect and the Prosecutor General, Ingabire ordered her lawyer, Gashabana, out of the meeting room claiming that what she wanted to talk about didn't concern him and was confidential," Ruberwa added.

The agreement was that details of the meeting were to remain confidential She wanted to plead guilty on some charges and get a lenient sentence but both parties never reached an agreement," Ruberwa explained.

Presidential amnesty

Meanwhile, yesterday's hearing, the prosecution produced a hand written copy of Ingabire's letter to the President requesting for clemency.

The title of the letter written in Kinyarwanda reads; "Explanation, asking for pardon, and requesting to be released." The prosecution, however, did not reveal the contents of the letter but gave its copies to the judges.

"This letter deserves no consideration. Ingabire was asking for forgiveness in the letter, but pleading not guilty in court. If she was not guilty, then why was she asking for pardon?" Ruberwa pondered.

The Prosecutors said the President could not forgive someone before a court ruling.

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