Rwandan High Court sentences opposition politician Deo Mushayidi to life
“Si vous m’aimez, soutenez la cause que j’ai défendue et que je défendrai de mon vivant”
Kigali – Sept.17 – Opposition politician Deogratias Mushayidi will spend the rest of his life behind bars after he was found guilty on three of the seven very serious charges, the High Court ruled Friday.
Mushayidi, who was arrested in Tanzania – handed to Burundi, which immediately extradited him to Rwanda, was found guilty on three counts including: causing state insecurity, using forged documents and inciting citizenry against established authority.
The defense led by Kigali lawyer Christophe Twagirayezu told reporters after the verdict that he was going to appeal in the Supreme Court.
In addition to the life sentence, Mushayidi was ordered to pay 73,150 Francs (Approx. US$130) as court charges.
The High Court however cleared the controversial ex-head of the Association of Rwandan Journalists (ARJ) of four charges.
They included: promoting Genocide revisionism, ideology and sowing seeds of divisionism; terrorism and collaboration with armed groups with intent to oust a legitimate government.
Prosecution had prayed to court on August 23 to slam Mushayidi with three separate sentences including two life sentences and 50 years in jail for all the charges against him.
Mushayidi – who has been in detention at the maximum security jail here in Kigali, was not in court to hear his verdict.
The outspoken politician was arrested and subsequently extradited to Rwanda on March 5 this year. The state produced several witnesses and documents showing how the head of Belgian-based PDP-Imanzi political group had been collaborating with the Rwandan FDLR rebels in DR Congo.
At some point, prosecution alleged Mushayidi was part of a “terror network” with exiled Lt. Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa and Col Patrick Karegeya – both on political asylum in South Africa. They are said to be operating in this region – but no specifics have been availed.
During the trial, prosecution brought a person described as a ‘high profile witness’ by the names of Samuel Nsengiyumva whom court heard was Mushayidi’s close partner. Prosecution said they had been working together on preparing armed rebellion from Tanzania.
Before fleeing Rwanda in 2000, Mushayidi headed the local journalists’ grouping – from which he is alleged to have disappeared all its finances which had been provided by UNESCO.
A former combatant of the RPF rebels, he would turn out to be a fierce critic of President Kagame from the safety of Europe – where he joined up with various opposition groups.