Rwandan president Paul Kagame looks on during the COMESA conference in Nairobi, Kenya in 2007. President Paul Kagame of Rwanda is criticizing diplomats he accuses of meddling in the country's internal affairs. File picture: Sayyid Abdul Azim/AP

Kigali, Rwanda - Rwanda's electoral commission has disqualified three candidates for next month's presidential election, saying they didn't fulfil requirements such as collecting enough supporting signatures.

Those disqualified Friday are Diane Shima Rwigara, Gilbert Mwenedata and Fred Sekikubo Barafinda. Rwigara, who was running as an independent, said last week that local leaders threatened her supporters while they collected signatures.

The electoral commission's announcement comes as Amnesty International charges that the election will be held under a "climate of fear" and repression.

Rwandans go to the polls Aug. 4. They will choose among longtime President Paul Kagame, Frank Habineza of the opposition Democratic Green Party and independent candidate Philippe Mpayimana.

According to electoral laws, independent presidential candidates are required to present 600 signatures, with at least 12 from each of Rwanda's 30 districts.

Associated Press