Rwandan opposition leader among 2,140 convicts pardoned

Kigali, Rwanda (PANA) - Rwanda's Justice Ministry has announced the release of 2,140 prisoners, including one-time Presidential election aspirant Victoire Ingabire, after a Presidential pardon.

The decision to free the prisoners was announced after a Cabinet meeting chaired by President Paul Kagame on Friday.

The Cabinet approved the early release of the 2,140 convicts found eligible under relevant provisions of law, the Justice Ministry said in a statement on Friday night.

Those who walked to freedom include musician Mr Kizito Mihigo, accused of plotting to assissinate President Kagame and Ingabire, who was jailed in 2013. She was arrested in 2010.

The Justice Ministry said the remainder of their sentences were commuted by Presidential prerogative following their most recent applications for clemency in June this year.
According to the government statement, the convicts were released based on Articles 245 and 246 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Law No. 30/2013 of 24/5/2013) which provide for the release on parole of a convict who has served at least one-third of a sentence of less than 5 years.

The convicts are also eligible for release after serving two-thirds of a sentence greater than 5 years (or at least 20 years in the case of a life sentence), provided they demonstrate good behaviour and give serious pledges of social rehabilitation.

Convicts are also eligible for release if its proved they suffer from serious and incurable disease approved by a medical committee composed of at least three recognised doctors.

“The President of the Republic has the authority to exercise the prerogative of mercy in accordance with the procedures provided for by law and after consultation with the Supreme Court,” the Justice Ministry said.

Ingabire was sentenced to 15 years in 2013 by the Supreme Court, while Mr Mihigo was sentenced 10 years in 2015 by the High Court.

Ingabire was jailed for questioning the biased reporting of the 1994 Rwanda genocide report, which she contested lacked balance and had no record of Hutus killed during the genocide.

She was charged with the offence of belittling the national security and was also barred from contesting the Presidential elections in 2013.
-0- PANA AO/MA 15Sept2018

15 september 2018 11:52:23

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