Kigali, 28 May 2007 (FH) - Sunday, Mr. François Byuma, a Rwandan, author of very popular theatre performances, activist of Human Rights, was sentenced to 19 years’ imprisonment by a Gacaca Court in the sector of Biryogo, a quarter of Kigali. He appealed against this decision.
Judge Sudi Imanzi, who presides this semi-traditional court, found him guilty of having practiced “a military training within the Coalition for the defence of Republic (CDR)”, of having inflicted assault and battery upon a Tutsi woman named Batamuriza, of “formation of a criminal association as head of the cell” and of “having brought Batamuriza to the sector office”.
The court acquitted him on other charges (participation in the construction of barriers, having compiling a list of Tutsi victims). Also accused before a different court of unlawful detention of weapons, he will be prosecuted if the testimonies prove to be true, the President said.
Byumba was first convicted to preventive detention at the opening of the trial on 13 May and released on 20 May after having accepted to plead.
The two co-accused of Byuma, Mr. Shinani Mugoboka, former sector responsible, and Mr. Aloys Ndabarinze, who were both charged with the same counts, were acquitted by the same jurisdiction, the Hirondelle Agency noticed.
A Rwandan responsible to the League for Human Rights in the region of the Great Lakes (LGDL) denounced “the violations of usual proceedings, the lack of relevant evidence of guilt, the intimidation by the President” to the Hirondelle Agency. According to him, “this trial should be transferred before another court”.
On 13 April, at the opening of the trial, Byuma challenged President Imanzi because the association he presides, called “Turengere Abana” (Protect the Children) lodged a complaint against him for rape. According to Byuma, this complaint motivated and hurried the trial.
© Hirondelle News Agency