Rwandan President Paul Kagame. File picture: Steven Senne

Kigali -

One of Rwanda's most prominent opposition figures, Bernard Ntaganda, was freed on Wednesday after serving a four-year prison sentence for threatening state security and causing ethnic divisions, officials said.

Ntaganda, a lawyer and founder of the PS-Imberakuri opposition party, wanted to challenge President Paul Kagame in 2010 elections, but was arrested and jailed before the polls.

“Indeed he finished his sentence today, and was released. By the time the prison informed me, he was already in Nyanza town with his friends and relatives,” General Paul Rwarakabije, the director general of Rwanda Correctional Services, told AFP.

Ntaganda, who was denied an appeal, had denied the charges against him and maintained his imprisonment was politically motivated.

The trial was criticised by rights group Amnesty International, which called for his immediate and unconditional release. - Sapa-AFP