Verdict for Rwanda opponent delayed

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iol pic afr Victoire Ingabire

Reuters

US lawyer Peter Erlinder (L) greets Rwandan presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire at a high court in the capital Kigali on June 14, 2010.

Kigali - A Rwandan court on Friday postponed the verdict for opposition figure Victoire Ingabire, accused of bankrolling terrorism and denying the 1994 genocide, until October 19.

The court said it would wait for the decision of a higher court on a separate suit filed by Ingabire before handing down its verdict.

“The court realised that Ingabire filed a suit in the Supreme Court challenging the genocide ideology law,” judge Alice Rulisa told the court, adding that a lawyer for Ingabire had also requested the court wait for the Supreme Court ruling before handing down its own decision.

In late June the same court had already postponed the verdict once.

Ingabire, leader of the Unified Democratic Forces (FDU), a political grouping that has not been allowed to register as a party, is charged with “giving financial support to a terrorist group, planning to cause state insecurity and divisionism”.

Ingabire, a Hutu, denies the charges.

Prosecutors in April called for her to be given a life sentence.

Ingabire, an outspoken critic of President Paul Kagame, has been in custody since her arrest in October 2010, and has boycotted proceedings since April after the court cut short a witness who accused Rwandan authorities of rigging evidence against her.

Rwandan prosecutors claim to have evidence of Ingabire's “terrorist” activities, including proof of financial transfers to the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Rwanda, a Hutu rebel movement based in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

The FDU accuses Rwandan authorities of fabricating evidence against its leader, with the sole aim of preventing her from participating in the political affairs of the small central African country.

Ingabire was absent as she has been boycotting the court proceedings in recent months, but her four co-accused were in court. - Sapa-AFP


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