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Thousands petition Rwandan govt to release Paul Kagame’s critic and her family

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Presidential hopeful and critic of Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame has been in prison together with her sister and mother since September 22 over charges they describe as politically motivated.

35-year-old Diane Rwigara who was disqualified from running against Kagame in the August presidential election is charged with forgery and inciting insurrection during her bid to run for president.

She is also charged with evading taxes of nearly Rwf5 billion ($6 million) together with her sister Anne Rwigara and mother Adeline Rwigara who are also accused of inciting insurrection and promoting sectarianism.

They pleaded not guilty and said their arrest and detention are politically motivated. The three were refused bail pending trial on the tax evasion allegations related to the family’s tobacco company.

Demand that Paul Kagame and the Rwandan regime produce Ms. Rwigara and immediately release her, her mother and the other family members.

Nearly 3,000 people have signed an online petition demanding that the Rwandan government releases the three who are influential in the country. The petition was started by the civil rights group African Great Lakes Action Network (AGLAN).

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“Demand that Paul Kagame and the Rwandan regime produce Ms. Rwigara and immediately release her, her mother and the other family members,” they stated.

The tax evasion accusations did not appear on the charge sheet and prosecutors did not give details of the insurrection charge.

Rwigara’s sister Anne said they had not had enough access to their lawyer. Adeline Rwigara had told the court that they had been tortured and deprived of food.

The country’s revenue authority has threatened to auction their properties including mansions, lands and cars if they don’t settle the outstanding bill.

“If they have not paid the tax by the end of November, we shall begin to put their properties on the market,” the Commissioner General of Rwanda Revenue Authority Richard Tusabe threatened.

The authority has closed down their company and proposed a payment plan of 12 months to renege on the decision to auction their properties.

Anne Rwigara who is the head of the family business told the court that she is being forced to sign the payment plan which they do not agree with.

Diane Rwigara’s father was a wealthy businessman who died in a car crash in 2015. He had fallen out with the ruling party prior to his death which the family alleges it was an assassination.

Crime

Ethiopia : 36 spy officers enter detention over corruption, rights abuses.

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After five months of investigations, Ethiopian authorities have arrested over thirty officials of the intelligence services, the attorney general Berhanu Tsegaye told reports on Monday.

According to him, the 36 officials currently being held have questions to answer over human rights abuses and alleged corruption. The officials were detained over the weekend, he added.



Local media portals quotes him as revealing grim details of rights violations on especially Ethiopians suspected and detained in connection with terrorism.

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He said investigators have uncovered 7 illegal dungeons in Addis Ababa, used purposefully to torture victims. Some of the actions of the detained officials led to death, rape and castration in some cases.

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He also gave details with regards to the case of a bombing at a pro-Abiy rally in Addis Ababa.

The third detailed corruption within the business wing of the Ethiopian National Defence Forces’ commercial wing.

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Motherland News

Uganda: Raging fire kills nine students in boarding School.

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Nine students died after fire engulfed a dormitory at a secondary school in southern Uganda early Monday, police said, one of the deadliest in a string of conflagrations at schools across the country in recent years.

Police spokesman Patrick Onyango said, the nine male students died when the blaze erupted at a dormitory that housed about 130 students at St. Bernard Maya secondary school in a district near the border with Tanzania.



Security personnel, Onyango said, suspect the fire was started deliberately by a group of students who had been expelled days earlier from the same school over indiscipline.

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It is suspected that they could be the ones that set the school on fire because of anger. They came back between midnight and 1 a.m. (local time Monday) and set the school ablaze,” he said.

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Our investigation is along that line because that is what we suspect happened.”

Other students were injured in the fire and had been rushed to nearby health facilities but Onyango said he was yet to establish their number.

Fire outbreaks at schools, mostly in dormitories, have become more frequent, often leaving buildings and students’ personal effects reduced to ashes.

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