Rwanda court acquits Diane Rwigara, mom Adeline

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Diane and mother Adeline are now free

Rwanda High Court has dismissed all charges against President Paul Kagame’s critic Diane Shima Rwigara and her mother Adeline Rwigara.

Mother and daughter Friday appeared before High Court for a verdict reading on forgery and incitement charges.

Prosecution had requested that the Rwigaras be sentenced to 22 years imprisonment for inciting insurrection, stocking divisionism and forgery among others.

They had been charged with inciting insurrection and promoting sectarianism through social media platforms like WhatsApp.

The count of inciting insurrection against an established government that Diane Rwigara is charged with is drawn from pronouncements she made during a news conference she held in Kigali.

High Court ruled that the intercepted WhatsApp audios of Adeline, which were presented by prosecution as evidence, do not prove promotion of sectarianism or inciting public insurrection.

Court ruled that these were private conversations between individuals.

On the count of inciting ethnic divisions which all the accused of, prosecution relied on the same audios, and court has already ruled on the admissibility of these audios.

It would have been a crime of conspiracy to incite which they were never charged.

Diane Rwigara also faces the charge of forgery drawn from the lists of people endorsing her candidature for president which she submitted to Rwanda Elections last year.

On this charge, court finds that much as authenticity of some of the signatures presented by the accused were called into question by Kigali Forensic Lab, the burden of proof was on prosecution to prove the accused actually forged the signatures.

Court therefore found doubts in the evidence presented before court which favours the accused.

 

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