Kigali court orders Diane Rwigara and mother detained

Monday October 23 2017

Adeline Rwigara (left) and her daughters Diane Rwigara (centre) and Anne Rwigara are escorted by security officers to a police van after a Kigali court adjourned the pre-trial hearing in which they are facing criminal charges on October 9, 2017. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A court in Kigali Monday ruled against bail for government critic Diane Rwigara, who is charged with inciting public insurrection and forging of documents.

The disqualified presidential aspirant and her mother Adeline Rwigara, will now be remanded for at least 30 days before their trial begins in substance.

However, her younger sister, Ms Anne Rwigara, was released provisionally after the judge decided to drop the charge accusing her of inciting public insurrection on grounds of insufficient evidence.

The trio remained emotionless throughout the hearing, while journalists who waited outside to take their photos after the session were ordered not to by police officers.

The pre-trial last week took a twist when the judge ordered the press and the public to leave the courtroom because sensitive testimonies were going to be presented through intercepted audios and witnesses whose identity was protected.

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Lawyers for the accused had asked the judge to disregard the Whatsapp audio files as evidence, citing that they had been illegally obtained through phone interceptions.

Lead prosecutor Michele Nshimiyimana, denied any phone interceptions, noting that the audio files were obtained from the defendants’ phones after a search at the Rwigara’s residence led to the legal confiscation of their phones and gadgets.

Ms Diane Rwigara, a 35-year-old accountant and vocal critic of President Paul Kagame, is charged with inciting insurrection and forging signatures during her presidential bid.

Forgery attracts five to seven years in jail, while inciting insurrection – a charge that Diane shares with her mother – attracts 10 to 15 years.

Mrs Rwigara is separately charged with promoting sectarian practices, which attracts five to seven years in prison