Rwanda: Kagame critic Diane Rwigara goes on trial

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Rwandan activist and critic of President Paul Kagame, Diane Rwigara, faces charges of insurrection as her controversial trial begins.

Rwigara, who was denied the chance to stand against Paul Kagame in Rwanda’s election last year, has been detained since September. She now faces trial with her mother on the grounds of conspiring to incite insurrection – or “smear the country and its leadership with lies,” according to prosecutor, Faustin Nkusi.

Rwigara on trial

Diane Rwigara was originally charged with forgery and tax evasion alongside her mother in September, 2017. A few months earlier she was prevented from running for president against current leader Paul Kagame and later accused of forging signatures of support during her application.

During her campaign, nude photos appearing to show Rwigara circulated online but she says the images were fake.

Kagame went on to win the election by a landslide in August and Rwigara was soon arrested with her mother and sister. In October, prosecutors then charged the trio with attempting to incite insurrection, which means they could be looking at lengthy prison sentences.

In March, the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) auctioned property owned by the family for $599,040 (Rwf512 million) to contribute towards more than $5.85 million (Rwf5 billion) in tax arrears.

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About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.