Rwanda jails top military figures

2016-03-31 22:50
File, AFP

File, AFP

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Kigali - A Rwandan military tribunal on Thursday condemned two senior army figures to 20 years in prison for inciting rebellion, an AFP correspondent at the Kigali court said.

"The court condemns Colonel Tom Byabagamba to 21 years in jail and a reduction in rank, and retired general Frank Rusagara to 20 years in prison," said Judge Narcisse Nsengiyumva.

Both men were once close to the inner circle of Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

Byabagamba, a serving colonel who was once head of the presidential guard, was also convicted of withholding evidence. And Rusgara, a retired brigadier-general and former secretary-general of the defence ministry, was also convicted of illegally possessing a firearm.

The two men were arrested in August 2014 and charged with inciting rebellion by "spreading rumours" and "tarnishing the image of the country and government". Both denied all the charges against them, and following the verdict, vowed to appeal.

According to military prosecutors, Byabagamba had attempted to turn military officials against the government, while Rusagara had been relaying "propaganda" from the dissident Rwanda National Congress (RNC), an exiled opposition group that includes several former top members of Kagame's ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).

During the trial, the prosecutor said Rusagara had been heard saying Rwanda "is a police state and a banana republic", and that he had described Kagame as a "dictator".

Critics of Kagame, however, say the trials expose the workings of a paranoid state that is increasingly nervous over the activities of the RNC.

Kagame, 58, has run Rwanda since his ethnic Tutsi rebel army, the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF), ended a 1994 genocide by extremists from the Hutu majority, in which an estimated 800 000 people were massacred, the vast majority of them Tutsis.

Elected first in 2003 and again in 2010, he recently announced plans to run for an exceptional third seven-year term in 2017, drawing criticism from the United States and the European Union.

Rusagara's driver, former army sergeant Francois Kabayiza, was also sentenced to five years of prison for withholding evidence. He had also denied the charges and vowed to appeal.

Read more on:    paul kagame  |  rwanda  |  east africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.