Nyarugenge Intermediate Court on Wednesday adjourned the pretrial hearing of President Paul Kagame’s critic who is facing attempted insurrection and forgery charges. The pretrial hearing was adjourned because Diane Rwigara’s mother didn’t have a lawyer to defend her.
Rwigara and some members of her family have been in detention since Sept. 23. Rwigara’s mother Adeline and sister Anne have also been charged with incitement and “discrimination and sectarianism”.
Diane Rwigara faces up to 15 years in jail if she is convicted of inciting insurrection. Appearing before the three-judge bench, the suspects denied all the charges.
“I am shocked to hear these charges,” Anne Rwigara told the packed court. In an interview with SoftPower, shortly before her arrest in the capital Kigali, Ms Rwigara denied all the charges claiming that her family was being “targeted by the government for criticising the ruling party”.
The Judge Uwera Immaculee asked Adeline Rwigara to find a lawyer quickly as the hearing starts on Friday this week.
The court put off the hearing last week after the three women said they had not been allowed to access their family lawyer Pierre Celestin Buhuru but prosecution, led by Michele Nshimiyimana dismissed this, saying Buhuru had been given all necessary information regarding the case.
Diane Rwigara tried to run against President Kagame in Rwanda’s August. 4 presidential vote but the country’s electoral body disqualified her on grounds that she lacked enough supporting signatures and had forged some.
Rwigara is the daughter of the late Assinapol Rwigara, a businessman who fell out with Kagame before his death in a car accident in 2015.
Rwanda under President Kagame has won praise for its advances in economic development and women’s rights over the past 23 years, after the 1994 Genocide in which more than one million people died.