Opponent of Rwandan president denies insurrection, forgery charges in court

Rwigara accuses Kagame of stifling dissent and has criticised the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front’s (RPF) tight grip on the country since it fought its way to power to end the east African nation’s genocide.

Her mother Adeline and younger sister Anne are co-defendants in the trial and say the accusations are politically motivated.

Anne Rwigara, a sister of Diane Shiman 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

Their attorney, Pierre Celestin Buhuru, said he had not been given access to WhatsApp messages and recordings that prosecutors have presented as evidence.

The family has also asked for a return of money they said was confiscated by police during their raid in August so that they can appoint an additional lawyer.

The trial will resume on Friday.

Last month, Rwandan authorities charged another opposition official and eight others with forming an armed group and seeking to overthrow the government.

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

(Writing by Aaron Maasho; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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