21 November 2017

Rwanda: Kagame Critic Diane Rwigara Denied Bail Again

Photo: Nadege K.Imbabazi/New Times
Diane Shima Rwigara getting out of the house after the police presents her an arrest warrant (file photo).

The High Court in Kigali has dismissed an appeal against denial of bail by Rwandan government critic and former presidential aspirant Diane Rwigara.

The judge on Tuesday said that the prosecution had provided a compelling argument as to why Diane and her mother Adeline should remain on remand until their trial begins.

In the ruling, the judge, whose name was not provided, said that the crimes the two are accused of are sensitive.

Diane, 35, a vocal critic of President Paul Kagame, is charged with inciting public insurrection and forging documents, which she has consistently denied and labelled "politically motivated."

Her mother is similarly charged with inciting public insurrection and separately with promoting sectarian practices.

Last week, Diane accused the court of lacking independence to try her case fairly, arguing that the decisions made at her trial will come directly from the President's office.

"I know that you are powerless to deliver a fair verdict and to give me bail. You are trying my case but the real power and decisions will come from the President's Office, not from you," Ms Rwigara told the three-judge panel.

During the ruling Tuesday, only Diane was in court as her mother was said to have been ill.

Forgery charges attract five to seven years in jail, while inciting insurrection attracts 10 to 15 years in jail. Promoting sectarian practices attracts five to seven years in prison.

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