Judge orders release of British woman detained in Rwanda

2017-03-28 17:21


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

Kigali - The pregnant wife of an exiled Rwandan opposition official, held incommunicado for a fortnight before being charged with treasonous acts, is to be released, her lawyer said on Tuesday.

A court ordered that Violette Uwamahoro, a Rwandan-British woman, be "provisionally released" on Monday, in a blow to state attempts to prosecute her for allegedly seeking to start an armed insurgency, said lawyer Antoinette Mukamusoni.

A human rights observer in the court said the judge had found contradictions in the prosecution's evidence. However, Uwamahoro remained in custody on Tuesday as police had not yet received a copy of the judgement, Mukamusoni said.

Once free Uwamahoro will not be permitted to leave Rwandan territory.

State prosecutors have five days to appeal the provisional release order and 30 days to decide whether to continue the prosecution or close the case, after which Uwamahoro would be unconditionally released.

The prosecution has given no indication of whether it plans to push ahead with the case.

Uwamahoro, who took British citizenship after moving to the UK in 2004 where she lives with her husband and two children, is accused alongside a cousin, Jean-Pierre Shumbusho.

Shumbusho has confessed to charges of revealing "information about state security" and planning "to form an armed group to attack Rwanda" but Uwamahoro denies the allegations.

She is married to Faustin Rukundo, an official with the exiled Rwandan National Congress (RNC) which was formed by former allies of President Paul Kagame. Kigali says the RNC is a terrorist organisation.

Uwamahoro travelled to Rwanda to attend her father's funeral but disappeared on February 14. Rwandan police only admitted they were holding her more than two weeks later, saying she was suspected of a "serious crime".

Pressure group Amnesty International said police were "illegally" holding Uwamahoro, while observers see the case as another example of government efforts to squash dissent.

Kagame is seeking re-election in August after the country's constitution was changed in 2015, allowing him to seek a third seven-year term.

He has been a main player in the small east African country since 1994 when his forces stopped a Hutu genocide against his Tutsi minority which left some 800 000 dead.

While Kagame is regularly praised for the stability and economic performance of his small nation, rights group often criticise him for lack of political freedoms and freedom of expression.

Read more on:    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

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


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.


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.