Rwandan court acquits the Rwigaras

Thursday December 6 2018

Diane Rwigara (front L), a critic of Rwanda's President

Diane Rwigara (front L), a critic of Rwanda's President, reacts as she leaves the Kigali's High Court, on December 6, 2018 after the judges dropped all the charges and declared her not guilty of forgery and inciting insurrection. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA | AFP 

By IVAN R. MUGISHA
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A High Court in Rwanda on Thursday acquitted government critic Diane Rwigara and her mother Adeline Rwigara of charges of inciting insurrection and forgery.

"We find that the prosecution charges do not have a basis and find Diane Rwigara and Adeline Rwigara not guilty on all charges," read a three-judge verdict. 

The small Kigali court house, packed with relatives, burst into jubilation, songs and hugs, following the ruling. 

The court ruled that Diane Rwigara did not incite violence and was only exercising her freedom of speech when she criticised the presidency in her press conferences during her stint as presidential candidate hopeful.

Forged signatures

It also ruled that although the documents presented to the national electoral commission had indications of forged signatures, it was upon the prosecution to prove that she personally intended to forge the signatures, which it did not. 

Four other accused relatives, who are not in the country, were also cleared of all charges and found not guilty.

Diane Rwigara was facing charges of inciting insurrection against the government and forgery of electoral documents, on account of which she was disqualified from the presidential race in 2017.

Her mother faced charges of inciting insurrection and promoting sectarianism.

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