Six Rwandan opposition figures sentenced for 7-12 years

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Rwanda’s capital Kigali. /AFP

Six Rwandan opposition figures have been jailed for seven to 12 years after being convicted of forming an illegal armed group and conspiring against the government, state radio reported.

The six belonged to the FDU-Inkingi party, formerly led by Victoire Ingabire, an outspoken critic of President Paul Kagame.

Gatera Gashabana, the lawyer for the six, said they would appeal against their conviction and sentences.

Ingabire herself served six years of a 15-year prison term on charges of conspiring to form an armed group to undermine the government, before being released in 2018. She said the charges were politically motivated.

State-run Radio Rwanda, in a report late on Thursday, said the six newly sentenced to prison included Boniface Twagirimana, a vice president in the FDU-Inkingi, who along with one associate received a 10-year term.

Two other co-accused men were given 12 years while a seven-year sentence was handed out to others. The court, based in the south of Rwanda, acquitted four other defendants.

Prosecutors said the men had helped to form a rebel group in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo with the objective of toppling the government in Rwanda.

Over the years, Rwanda has accused various rebel groups operating out of the jungles of eastern Congo of plotting to destabilize it or overthrow Kagame’s government.

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