Rwandan opposition leader denied bail


A Rwandan opposition leader was denied bail after a court said the charges against her were of a serious nature and the security of the state could be in danger if she were freed.

Victoire Ingabire was charged on Monday with facilitating the formation of a Democratic Republic of Congo-based terrorist organisation known as the Coalition of Democratic Forces (CDF) and threatening national security and public order.

Ingabire, the outspoken head of the unregistered United Democratic Forces (UDF) party, pleaded not guilty in court and reiterated at the bail hearing that she believed the case against her was political, Reuters reports.
“I was not surprised with the outcome of the case. It is politically motivated and I will challenge the ruling on the bail and hope the judge’s decision would be independent of the intention of government to keep me behind bars,” Ingabire said.

She was arrested by Rwandan police on Oct. 14 after they said investigations into a former rebel commander facing terrorism charges also implicated her.

The prosecution said Ingabire financed and exchanged information with Major Vital Uwumuremyi, a former commander in the Hutu rebel group FDLR, and two other men also in detention.

Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga denied there was any political element to Ingabire’s case.

He told reporters that other countries, including the United States, Burundi, the Netherlands and Democratic Republic of Congo, were willing to provide more information implicating her.
“We shall make sure bail is not granted because evidence provided in this case is of a serious nature. There are transactions of monies made from certain countries for purposes of promoting terrorism and received by FDLR commanders which implicate Ingabire,” Ngoga said.
“Bail is given on assumption of innocence and the presumption no new evidence comes up. There is a new dimension that comes with this case. We have four FDLR commanders who confessed some money was received in Rwanda banks,” he said.

Ingabire returned to Rwanda this year after a 16-year absence to campaign in the August presidential election which President Paul Kagame won overwhelmingly.

She was barred from standing after being accused of crimes linked to genocide denial. The government had accused her of stirring latent tensions between ethnic Hutus and Tutsis to garner support ahead of the poll.

Uwumuremyi, who was arrested earlier this year while trying to slip back into Congo using fake identity papers, pleaded guilty to the charges.