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Diane Rwigara: Rwanda government critic released

Image CopyrightAFP / Getty captionsDiane Rwigara is a prominent critic of Rwanda's president Paul Kagame A Rwandan court in the…

 Diane Rwigara (front L), a critic of Rwanda's president, reacts when she leaves the Kigali High Court

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AFP / Getty

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Diane Rwigara is a prominent critic of Rwanda’s president Paul Kagame

A Rwandan court in the capital, Kigali, has been fired government critic Diane Rwigara and her mother of accusations to call for rebellion and forgery.

Ms. Rwigara was imprisoned for over a year after being barred from running in the presidential election against long-term commander Paul Kagame.

The 37-year-old opposition leader faced up to 22 years in prison charges, which she said politically motivated.

A triple panel told a packed room all charges were

Amnesty International welcomed the result, but said that the mother and daughter should never have been considered to express their opinions.

Since her employment, Mrs Rwigara’s family has been subject to interrogation and their family assets forced auction.

“I’m very pleased with the judgment,” said Mrs Rwigara, who has been out to the castle since October. “I continue my political journey … because there is still a lot to be done in our country.”

During the hearing, the business woman claimed that Rwanda’s economy was mainly controlled by the government’s elite. [1

9659007] “Everything I talked about in the past has not been solved. There are still many political prisoners in the country,” she told reporters after the Supreme Court.

Ms. Rwigara has repeatedly accused President Kagame of suffocating resistance and criticized his unlimited grip on power because it took control of the country’s civil war.

Dissent still not tolerated

Anne Soy, BBC Africa correspondent

The enemies of Diane Rwigara and her mother Adeline could be seen as a significant step in Rwanda’s democracy.

But it is also hard to ignore the fact that it was international pressure, including the US Congress, to release charges against her – not that the Rwandan authorities are used to listening to external voices.

Critics Still Look Ms. Rwigara’s arrest and detention and auctioning of its assets as a continuation of a trend towards threats to all who oppose the government.
AFP / Getty

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Ms. Rwigara and her mother Adeline are seen after being released on the shelter.

Opposition leader Victoire Ingabire was released from prison this year and earned time for “conspiracy against the country through terrorism and war” and “genocide denial”. She – like Mrs Rwigara – intended to run for president against Paul Kagame, back in 2010.

Another opposition leader, Boniface Twagirimana, was missing in prison in October. His place of residence is unknown.

Ingabire was released in September under the mercy of the President, a feature that can be interpreted as painting Kagame as a benevolent leader.

But the underlying message remains that the difference is not tolerated.

In Thursday’s judgment, the judges of the High Court said that the prosecution failed to prove that Mrs Rwigara personally falsified supporters’ signatures and argued that her criticism of the government during press conferences was protected by freedom of expression in both constitution and international law.

They also ruled freedom of speech that protected Whatsapp voice annotations Adeline Rwigara, privately sent to relatives who accused the state of ruling by fear.

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