Rwanda opposition leader in court on terror charge

AP News
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Posted: Sep 07, 2011 2:47 PM
Rwanda opposition leader in court on terror charge

A top Rwandan opposition leader appeared in court Wednesday with four others to face terrorism charges.

Prosecutor Bonaventure Ruberwa told the court that Victoire Umuhoza Ingabire was in "constant contact" with rebels in the Congo in an effort to destabilize Rwanda. The court also mentioned that Paul Rusesabagina was Ingabire's accomplice, although he has not been formally charged and was not in court Wednesday, as he lives in the U.S.

Rusesabagina gained international fame after he was portrayed by Don Cheadle helping hide families from genocidal killers in the film Hotel Rwanda. Rwandan officials have requested U.S. help in gathering evidence against him.

"We have statements from the accused and papers showing the working relationships between them and the two politicians aimed at terrorizing the country," said Ruberwa.

All four of Ingabire's co-accused plead guilty. Ingabire did not yet get a chance to enter plea or present her defense.

Ingabire returned to Rwanda in January after 16 years to challenge President Paul Kagame by leading the opposition political party FDU-Inkingi. Kagame was re-elected in an August vote, and Ingabire was barred from contesting the poll. She is accused of propagating ethnic hatred, forming a terrorist organization and "genocide revisionism." Her lawyers say the charges are politically motivated.

Human rights groups accuse the Rwandan government of using allegations of terrorism to stifle opposition.

The trial resumes on Thursday.