Rwanda: Kizito Mihigo, Victoire Ingabire Get Presidential Pardon

Rwandan opposition politician Victoire Ingabire (file photo).
15 September 2018

President Paul Kagame on Friday exercised his prerogative of mercy to grant early release to over 2,000 inmates convicted for various crimes.

Among the convicts that benefited from the clemency include musician Kizito Mihigo who had been serving a 10-year sentence after he was convicted for a litany of charges.

According to a government statement released by the Ministry of Justice, another convict who benefitted from the clemency is Victoire Ingabire, who has been in detention since 2010.

“Among (those released) are Mr Kizito Mihigo and Ms Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, the remainder of whose sentences were commuted by Presidential prerogative following their most recent applications for clemency in June this year “ reads part of the statement published by the Ministry of Justice.

In total, the beneficiaries to the clemency are  2,140 convicts from different parts of the country, majority of whom from Huye District, where 484 got early release.

Ingabire had in 2013 had her conviction upheld on appeal by Supreme Court, which saw her lower court eight-year sentence increased to 15 years in prison.

Arrested in 2010, Ingabire was convicted for  inciting the masses to revolt against the government, forming armed groups to destabilise the country, and minimising the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Ingabire was convicted on evidence, including some furnished to Rwandan judicial authorities by the Dutch government, attesting to the fact that she was fundraising for FDLR, a terror group linked to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

She had for many years lived in The Netherlands, where she had been naturalised a citizen.

On his part, Mihigo was in February 2015 convicted to 10 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to crimes including conspiracy to murder President Paul Kagame and other top leaders of the country.

Articles 245 and 246 of the Code of Criminal Procedure provide for the release on parole of a convict who has served at least one-third of a sentence of less than 5 years, or two-thirds of a sentence greater than 5 years (or at least 20 years in the case of a life sentence), provided at least one of the different conditions stipulated under the law are met.

Distribution of convicts to benefit from early release:

·      Bugesera: 23
·      Nyarugenge: 447
·      Musanze: 149
·      Gicumbi: 65
·      Nyanza: 63
·      Rubavu: 158
·      Rwamagana: 455
·      Nyagatare: 24
·      Huye: 484
·      Muhanga: 207
·      Ngoma: 35
·      Rusizi: 7
·      Nyamagabe: 23

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