Rwanda: RNC Terror Suspects Applaud Govt Over 'Humane Treatment'

29 October 2019

The terror suspects captured and extradited from DR Congo have applauded the Government for the treatment that they have been accorded since their capture a few months ago.

The 25 accused, who were part of a militia outfit affiliated to Rwandan dissident Kayumba Nyamwasa, were yesterday back in the Military Tribunal in Nyamirambo for the ruling on their bail.

They were all denied bail owing to the seriousness of the charges they face and the fact that many did not have a permanent address in Rwanda which would make them a flight risk.

All the suspects were remanded for 30 days.

Speaking after the verdict, Major (rtd) Habib Mudathiru, the most senior among them, took time to thank the Government of Rwanda for what he called 'humane treatment' ever since they were extradited.

Mudathiru was speaking from his seat owing to the fact he was injured on the leg during an operation by Congolese armed forces (FARDC) in which the group was captured.

The operation, in which several other militia members were killed, intensified mid this year as the Congolese strive to stamp out foreign militias operating in their country.

"I would like to thank the Government for the treatment we have been accorded because in other countries, when you are caught in an ambush, as an enemy of the state you are tortured. We are being treated in a humane way, we have not been abused or tortured and for that I thank Military Police," he said.

Mudathiru also gave a vote of thanks to their lawyers he said have defended them without asking for anything in payment.

The lawyers were assigned to the suspects by the Rwanda Bar Association.

"What we have experienced since we came is different from what I know happens in other countries. We are thankful. The rest, we will leave it in the hands of God," he said.

During the pre-trial hearings, all the other 24 suspects pinned Mudathiru on being a key architect in the criminal enterprise and many said that he directly recruited them into the outfit.

Bail denied

Before that, Mudathiru and his co-accused's request for bail had been denied.

Each of the accused faces four charges of; formation of an irregular armed group or joining it, conspiracy against the established Government or the President of the Republic, maintaining relations with a foreign government with the intent to wage a war and formation of or joining a criminal group.

In his ruling, the presiding Judge Lt Col Charles Asiimwe Madudu concurred with military prosecution that there were compelling reasons to believe that Mudathiru maintained relations with a foreign government with the intent to wage a war.

Madudu however, stated that there were no compelling reasons to believe the other 24 co-accused were culpable to this charge.

The group is however believed to have been involved in the formation of an

"Court finds all the crimes against the accused compelling and is remanding them to prison for the next 30 days. They have five days to appeal this decision," he said.

The decision from the Military Tribunal can be appealed against at the Kanombe-based Military High Court.

All suspects had applied for bail despite some not having an established address in Rwanda.

Among the suspects are foreigners; Burundians, Ugandans and Malawians.

The Burundians particularly requested that they be granted asylum in Rwanda, saying that they would face backlash if at all they are to go back to their country.

During the pre-trial hearing, prosecution said that all the suspects were facilitated mainly by Uganda and Burundi to join the outfit whose activities are detailed in a report by the UN Group of Experts published in December last year.

Led by South Africa-based fugitive Kayumba Nyamwasa, RNC is a terrorist organisation blamed for a spate of grenade attacks in Rwanda between 2010 and 2014 that killed at least 17 people and injured over 400 others.

Kayumba is a fugitive from the Rwandan justice, having been tried in absentia, convicted and sentenced to 24 years in prison.

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