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Rwanda: FDLR suspects denied bail “to prevent return to Congo”

Lt. Colonels Tharcise Nditurende (L) and Noel Habiyambere outside Gasabo court on 29 April 2010Lt. Colonels Tharcise Nditurende (L) and Noel Habiyambere (R) outside Gasabo court on 29 April 2010

Kigali: The two ex-FDLR rebel officers whom the state alleges where collaborating with opposition politicians Victoire Ingabire and Paul Rusesabagina will stay in jail up to when the case starts, court ruled Friday.

Judge Mbishibishi of the Gasabo Intermediate Court concurred with prosecution that Lt. Col Noël Habiyaremye and Lt. Col Tharcisse Mbiturende are dangerous criminals that cannot be allowed to move freely.

The two will be remanded for 30 days as investigations are completed – ready for the start of the trial of the accused. Court finds it necessary to keep the accused in detention “lest they return to the forests of the (DR) Congo or impede the course of justice,” said the Judge.

Judge Mbishibishi however said they have 15 days to appeal against the verdict.

The state alleges that the two have been working with Ms. Victoire Ingabire – chair of the FDU-Inkingi and Mr. Paul Rusesabagina, the man behind the Hollywood movie “Hotel Rwanda” to oust the Rwandan government. The ex-FDLR rebels were finalizing details of launching rebel groups for the two politicians, according to state prosecutor, Mr. Richard Muhumuza.

Ms. Ingabire herself is out on bail on charges of ethnic divisionism, negating the Tutsi Genocide and links to a terrorist group. Prosecution has linked the two officers to her as “accomplices”.

It was not clear if the defense of the officers will appeal the verdict.

However, the fate of Lt. Jean Marie Karuta, the third alleged accomplice is not known so far.

The accused were transferred immediately to the maximum security prison – known here as ‘1930’.

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