Rwandan court acquits the Rwigaras

Diane Rwigara: Woman faced 22 years in jail for criticising her government

Diane Rwigara: Woman faced 22 years in jail for criticising her government

I am continuing with my political journey. everything I talked about in the past has not been resolved.

Since Rwigara's arrest past year, her brothers and sister have been interrogated, family assets have been forcibly auctioned to pay off a multi-million dollar tax claim, while a hotel the family owned was demolished for allegedly failing to abide by city guidelines. Diane Rwigara was standing trial on charges of insurrection and forgery.

Activists Diane Rwigara and her mother Adeline have been acquitted of all charges brought against them.

US senators in recent days urged Rwanda's government to drop the charges against her, with Sen.

She said she will move ahead with her People Salvation Movement, an activist group launched shortly before her arrest to encourage Rwandans to hold their government accountable. Dick Durbin noting "what appears to be highly questionable charges against Rwigara for seemingly running for office peacefully".

But it is also hard to ignore the fact that there was global pressure, including from the US Congress, to drop charges against her - not that Rwandan authorities are in the habit of listening to external voices.

Some Rwandans in the capital, Kigali, said they were shocked by the court's decision.

Ingabire leads an unregistered opposition party, the FDU-Inkigi, and she was freed along with several other prisoners, including singer Kizito Mihigo, convicted and jailed in 2015 for plotting to kill Kagame. "I hope to be cleared of all these made-up charges but I am ready for any outcome", she said, calling the courts unpredictable and lacking independence. "There are still many political prisoners in the country", she told journalists after the high court ruling.

Rwigara a year ago acknowledged the risks of running against Kagame, one of Africa's longest-serving leaders.

Diane Rwigara has repeatedly accused President Paul Kagame of stifling dissent and criticised his Rwandan Patriotic Front's unyielding grip on power.

Paul Kagame, the country's towering, beanpole-like president, has been widely praised for his role in providing stability and economic growth after Rwanda's catastrophic genocide in 1994.

"The court finds that the prosecution charges were baseless", said one member of the three-judge panel. Kagame won a third term with more than 98 percent of the vote.

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