Opponent of Rwandan president denies insurrection, forgery charges in court

Diane Shima Rwigara, a prominent critic of Rwanda's president Paul Kagame, is escorted by police officers from a courtroom in Kigali, Rwanda October 11, 2017. REUTERS/Jean Bizimana

By Clement Uwiringiyimana-KIGALI (Reuters) – A prominent opponent of Rwandan President Paul Kagame pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges of forgery and inciting insurrection and said she was being prevented from accessing her case file to chart her defence.

Any legal misstep in the trial of Diane Shima Rwigara could further mar the reputation of the long-ruling Kagame, who is credited for stabilising and developing Rwanda after its 1994 genocide but accused by rights groups of suppressing dissent.

Rwigara is accused of falsifying registration papers she filed to stand against Kagame in an August election and is the latest in a series of dissidents to face criminal charges. She was barred from running in the election, which Kagame subsequently won with an official 98.8 percent of the vote.

“I plead not guilty to all charges,” she told the court, adding that she had so far had scant access to her lawyer since police arrested her at her home on Aug. 30 on tax evasion allegations related to her family’s tobacco company.

Prosecutors said on Monday they could not disclose details of the charges because an investigation was still going on.

Adeline Rwigara, mother of Diane Shima Rwigara, a prominent critic of Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, is escorted by police officers into a courtroom in Kigali, Rwanda October 11, 2017. REUTERS/Jean Bizimana

Sharing is caring!

Next page

Mareeg senior news editor since 2001 and he can be reached at news@mareeg.com