Rwanda Information Portal

Prosecutor wants life sentence for Rwandan opposition figure Deo Mushayidi

Deo Mushayidi (Chair of PDP-Imanzi) in court

Deo Mushayidi (Chair of PDP-Imanzi) in court

Kigali – The embattled opposition politician Deogratias Mushayidi will wait for another month before he knows whether he goes free or stays in jail for the rest of his life as demanded by the state over seven serious charges.

In its closing arguments Monday, state prosecutor Bonaventure Ruberwa prayed to the High Court in Kigali to slam a maximum sentence on the controversial politician extradited from Burundi in March. The state also wants Mushayidi to pay a fine of 300,000 Francs, in addition to court costs.

Mushayidi was arrested in Tanzania, which handed him to Burundi that immediately transferred him to Rwanda on March 5. The state has filed seven charges against the head of the yet-to-be-registered exile-based PDP Imanzi party. In July, the Nyarugenge Intermediate Court refused to grant bail to Mushayidi. He had to stay in the maximum security prison ‘1930’ for the rest of the trial.

Among the charges include Genocide negationism, falsification of official documents and links to the DR Congo based FDRL rebels. Prosecution tabled hundreds of documents including email contacts between Mushayidi and the group, branded a terrorist entity.

Filing his closing defense, Mushayidi handled charge after another – accusing government of using politically motivated charges to keep him behind bars.

On Genocide ideology, Mushayidi said the charge is tantamount to mocking him because as he explained, he also lost members of his family during the 1994 Genocide.

As for the charge of collaborating with the terrorist group FDLR, Mushayidi prayed to court to summon the former members of the FDLR who have surrendered to Rwanda. He wants them to testify whether they know him as having been one of their members.

Among the high-profile ex-combatants are current deputy head of the demobilization commission Maj Gen Paul Rwarakabije, and top army Gen. Jerome Ngendahimana. Both surrendered in 2003. Hundreds of other senior officials have since put down their arms.

Responding to the charge of using forged documents, Mushayidi admitted that he was using false documents saying that he was carrying a Burundian passport because he never wanted to be detected. He however, maintained the document was official.

Mushayidi also denied the charge of trying to undermine state authority in many of his publications and speeches.

Court said it will rule on the case on September 17.


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