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Kigali, 10 April 2007 (FH) – The Rwandan ex-President Pasteur Bizimungu, convicted to 15 years’ imprisonment for incitation to civil disobedience, was been set free by presidential amnesty on Friday, we learn by an official source on Saturday morning. “It’s a presidential amnesty decided upon by the Head of State, exercising the discretionary powers conferred upon him by the Constitution”, Tharcisse Karugarama, the Minister of Justice, explained to Hirondelle Agency. President of Rwanda from 1994 to 2000, Bizimungu was thrown into jail in 2002 after having attempted to launch an opponent political party, immediately accused of preaching racial hatred by the regime. Brought to justice, he was convicted in June 2004 for criminal association, defalcation of public funds and incitation to civil disobedience. Minister Karugarama added that it is an “individual amnesty” which is not extended to the former Minister of Transports, Charles Ntakirutinka, who was convicted in the same trial than Bizimungu. Speaking on Radio Rwanda on Friday morning, the former Head of State, who said he was tired, expressed his gratitude to President Paul Kagame and to all those who assisted him during his detention. He was released one day before the 13th commemoration of the genocide of 1994 which, according to Kigali, caused almost one million victims, essentially within the Tutsi minority. According to Minister Karugarama, “Simply a coincidence”. ER/PB/CV © Hirondelle News Agency