|"Ms. Ingabire was also accused of financially helping a banned Hutu rebel group, the FDLR." (Stephanie Aglietti/AFP)|
By Mike Pflanz
The Telegraph, October 30, 2012
"Rwanda's leading Hutu opposition leader, Victoire Ingabire, was Tuesday jailed for eight years for treason and 'denying genocide' after a lengthy court case that her lawyers said was politically motivated. Ms. Ingabire has boycotted the trial since April and was not in court to hear Mrs. Justice Alice Rulisa hand down the sentence. She was also convicted of 'belittling' the genocide. Her British lawyer, Iain Edwards, said that he intended to appeal the verdict. Ms. Ingabire returned to Rwanda in 2010 after 17 years in exile in Holland, and said she intended to run against Paul Kagame, the incumbent president, in elections that year. Security forces arrested her after she questioned why memorials to the 800,000 people who died in 100 days of killing in 1994 failed to include Hutu victims of the slaughter. Most of those who died were from the Tutsi tribe, but many Hutus who sheltered Tutsis or were seen as moderates opposed to the ethnic cleansing were also killed. Prosecutors said that this amounted to denying the genocide, a serious crime in Rwanda.
Ms. Ingabire was also accused of financially helping a banned Hutu rebel group, the FDLR. She denied all the charges. Supporters from Ms. Ingabire's United Democratic Forces party who attended Tuesday's hearing were surprised that she was not given the maximum punishment of life imprisonment, which had been demanded by the state. Mr. Kagame, one of Britain's closest allies in Africa, has been accused of brutal repression of political dissent. International donors this year partially froze aid to his government over accusations that it is backing another rebel group in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo. Andrew Mitchell, the former Chief Whip, who is close to Mr Kagame, reinstated some of Britain's suspended aid in his last day in his job as International Development Secretary."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]