Wed | Aug 16, 2017

British woman faces treason-related charges in Rwanda

Published:Friday | March 24, 2017 | 3:00 AM

British woman faces treason-related charges

KIGALI, Rwanda (AP):

A pregnant British mother of two appeared in a Rwandan court for the first time yesterday since being arrested more than a month ago on treason-related charges.

The specific charges against Violette Uwamahoro will be made public after police investigations are complete, judicial spokesman Emmanuel Itamwa told The Associated Press.

Authorities are investigating the Rwandan-born Uwamohoro for revelation of state secrets, formation of an irregular armed group and offences against the established government or president, rights group Amnesty International said.

Uwamahoro denies all charges. She attended a bail hearing yesterday and returns to court Monday.

Amnesty International says Uwamahoro was held for more than two weeks without access to lawyers or her family in violation of Rwandan and international law. Her Rwandan-born husband is a political activist with an opposition group in exile.

DISAPPEARED

Uwamahoro, who lives in Britain, disappeared in Rwanda's capital, Kigali, on February 14 after returning to the country to attend her father's funeral, Amnesty International said. She had just called a family member to let them know she was arriving at the city's main bus station when her phone went dead, the rights group's statement said.

Rwanda under President Paul Kagame has been praised abroad for social and economic reforms, and Kagame is expected to win another seven-year term in this year's election, but human rights groups say his administration has an iron grip on power and quashes opposing views.

Uwamahoro's arrest and other cases of arbitrary detentions "seem designed to quell opposition voices in the run-up to the presidential elections in August," said Sarah Jackson, a deputy regional director for Amnesty International.