Tortured Rwandan female opposition politician falls unconscious in court
Kigali – More than 10 hours of court proceedings left a female politician of the yet-to-be registered FDU-Inkingi group unconscious as her health deteriorated in court Wednesday, RNA reports.
Alice Muhirwa, the treasurer of the party of embattled Victoire Ingabire lost ground and collapsed as she and seven other co-accused stood in the dock accused by the state of terrorism and taking part in an unlawful gathering on June 24.
Ms Muhirwa is part of the case in which ex-head of PS Imberakuri Bernard Ntaganda have been dragged to court over several charges. Ntaganda is facing four counts including terrorism and ethnic divisionism.
They were paraded in court after being arrested on June 24, as they demonstrated at the US embassy against the electoral commission. Police said on the same day that it had rounded up some 30 people including senior leaders of the three troubled opposition groups.
On Tuesday, prosecution brought the nine to court – but with Ntaganda charged separately from the other eight. He spent most of Tuesday defending himself – which was often countered by vigorous prosecution submissions. He has pleaded not guilty and instead wants bail.
On Wednesday, it had been expected that the eight co-accused would have their cases settled, but since 9am local time till late in the evening, the two sides could not finalise their arguments.
During the morning session, the eight took turns to deny any links to terrorism and dismissed prosecution claims that they had take part in the June protests. Prosecution had boxes of protest posters and crude weapons which were supposedly to be used to cause chaos on that day.
In the afternoon session, Alice Muhirwa seemed to have been overwhelmed with the situation and collapsed. Prosecution says she has been admitted at the newly constructed state-of-the-art Police Hospital in Kacyiru.
Her party leader claimed in a statement last week that she had been “bleeding due to kicks to her stomach”. They said she has been denied access to a medical doctor.
Police dismissed the accusations saying the International Committee of the Red Crescent (ICRC) had visited the suspects, and that their family members were regularly visiting them.
The opposition leaders Frank Habineza and Victoire Ingabire looked on in court helplessly as their members faced hours on grilling in the court.
Court ruled that it will wait to hear the defense of Alice Muhirwa on Thursday morning before making any decision on the bail application of all the accused.
Their main defense in court was showing they had been tortured in police custody, and want medical help – but prosecution says they are making up the medical concerns, and instead wants them to stay in jail for another month as investigations continue.