Rwanda ex-president to appeal conviction

Rwandan former President Pasteur Bizimungu will appeal his conviction and 15-year jail sentence handed down by a Kigali court this week, his lawyer said.

    Bizimungu was in office between 1994-2000

    Bizimungu was convicted for embezzlement, inciting racial animosity and criminal association.

      

    "We are demanding a full acquittal," said the lawyer, Jean-Bosco

    Kazungu on Thursday.

      

    "We are not happy with the judgement and the sentence," he said, adding "You can not simply sit and just wait for 15 years to end."

      

    Bizimungu and seven co-accused were convicted and sentenced on Monday.

      

    The former president was found guilty on three charges: diverting public funds, spreading rumours liable to incite civil disobedience and criminal association, each of which carried a five-year jail term.

     

    Symbol of reconciliation

       

    A Hutu, Bizimungu held office from 1994, when the Tutsi rebel group that had just seized power installed him as a symbol of reconciliation in the wake of the slaughter of some 800,000, mostly Tutsi Rwandans. Bizimungu was hounded out of office in 2000.

      

    "We are not happy with the judgement and the sentence"



    Jean-Bosco Kazungu,
    lawyer

    The criminal association accusation, and a dropped charge of threatening state security for which prosecutors hoped for a life term, are rooted in his creation of a political party in 2002, PDR-Ubuyanja, which was immediately declared illegal.

      

    Bizimungu has been detained since that year.

      

    The incitement to civil disobedience charge covers the more specific accusation that Bizimungu, a member of the country's Hutu majority, was encouraging hostility towards the small Tutsi minority.

      

    Human rights group Amnesty International has criticised the trial saying conditions of the arrests and detention, and the trial itself, fell far short of international standards of fairness.

    SOURCE: AFP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Sentenced to death for blasphemy: Surviving Pakistan's death row

    Sentenced to death for blasphemy: Surviving Pakistan's death row

    The story of a man who spent 19 years awaiting execution reveals the power of a false blasphemy claim to destroy a life.

    A story of exile and return: From Italy to Syria and back again

    A story of exile and return: From Italy to Syria and back again

    His grandfather fled fascist Italy during WWII and found refuge in Syria. Now Alberto and his family have returned.

    The Syrian women and girls sold into sexual slavery in Lebanon

    The Syrian women and girls sold into sexual slavery in Lebanon

    Syria's refugee crisis has shone a light on sex trafficking in Lebanon, where victims are often treated as criminals.