Rwanda President Paul Kagame has exercised his prerogative of mercy to approve the early release of musician Kizito Mihigo and politician Victoire Ingabire among other over 2000 convicts.
The duo had according to a government statement applied for clemency back in June Rwanda.
The Ministry of Justice said their release followed a cabinet meeting on Friday that approved the early release of 2,140 eligible convicts.
Among them are Kizito Mihigo and Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, who received a Presidential commutation of the remainder of their sentences, following their most recent requests for clemency in June 2018.
Distribution of convicts to be released early: Bugesera: 23, Nyarugenge: 447, Musanze: 149, Gicumbi: 65, Nyanza: 63, Rubavu: 158, Rwamagana: 455, Nyagatare: 24, Huye: 484, Muhanga: 207, Ngoma: 35, Rusizi: 7 and Nyamagabe: 23
Articles 245 and 246 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Law No. 30/2013 of 24/5/2013) 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 following conditions is met:
(1) He or she sufficiently demonstrates good behaviour and gives serious pledges of social rehabilitation;
(2) He or she suffers from serious and incurable disease approved by a medical committee composed of at least three recognised doctors.
Article 109 of the Constitution of Rwanda states: “The President of the Republic has the authority to exercise the prerogative of mercy in accordance with the procedures provided for by law and after consultation with the Supreme Court.”
Ms Ingabire was sentenced by 15 years in 2013 by the Supreme Court, while Mr Mihigo was sentenced 10 years in 2015 by the High Court.
The 37-year-old popular gospel singer was arrested in April 2014 and convicted after pleading guilty to a plot to kill Kagame and other top government officials.
He was accused of involvement in activities aimed at destabilising the country and forming alliances with outlawed groups – the exiled opposition group Rwanda National Congress (RNC) and rebel outfit in DR Congo the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).
He was jailed alongside radio journalist Cassien Ntamuhanga, who was handed 25 years but escaped prison in October 2017, and retired soldier Jean Paul Dukuzumuremyi, who got 30 years.
Victoire Ingabire was convicted for among other crimes, plotting against the Kigali government through working with the terror group, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).