11 September 2018

Rwanda: Kizito Mihigo Withdraws Appeal, to Serve Ten Year Sentence

Photo: Kizito Mihigo/Screenshot
Kizito Mihigo

Musician Kizito Mihigo has withdrawn his appeal to the Supreme Court which sought to overturn a 10-year sentence handed down by the High Court in 2015.

Mihigo, who appeared in court with his lawyer, Antoinette Mukamusoni, spent a short period in the Supreme Court after the judges said his letter to the Chief Justice, detailing the withdrawal of his appeal, was received and considered valid.

Speaking to The New Times, Herrison Mutabazi, the court's spokesperson said that Mihigo wrote to the Supreme Court informing them that he had reconsidered his appeal case.

"Kizito Mihigo wrote the letter to the Supreme Court saying he wanted to leave the appeal case and it was granted, he did not mention his reason in the letter though," Mutabazi said.

Mihigo was sentenced to 10 years in jail in February 2015, along with Jean-Paul Dukuzumuremyi and former journalist Cassien Ntamuhanga after they were convicted for crimes for murder and formation of a criminal gang.

While Kizito was sentenced to 10 years, his co-accused, Jean-Paul Dukuzumuremyi and Cassien Ntamuhanga were sentenced to 30 and 25 years, respectively.

However, Ntamuhanga escaped from Mpanga International Prison in October last year and he is still on the run, according to prosecution.

Mihigo's lawyer said that his client reconsidered his appeal bid himself and contacted her later to inform her of the decision he made.

The letter was as short as two sentences, she said.

The criminal code of procedures grants the right of a litigant to have their appeal granted regardless the level of the case, she said

"He told me that he pleaded guilty and prayed for pardon since the interrogation from police up to the time the court ruled against him and handed him a 10-year sentence and it would be just complicating matters to appeal," Antoinette she added

The New Times understands that Dukuzumuremyi also made a U-turn by withdrawing his appeal case.

However, Ntamuhanga's appeal was annulled based on the code of criminal procedure which provides for the repeal of one's case once they fail to appear before court with no substantial excuse.

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