Rwanda’s President, Paul Kagame has granted presidential pardon to a jailed opposition leader, Victoire Ingabire.
Justice minister of Rwanda said on Saturday that Ingabire, jailed for fifteen years as well as other political prisoners will be freed immediately.
The government statement said Ingabire, who leads the FDU-Inkingi opposition party, will be freed alongside singer Kizito Mihigo.
Mihigo was also jailed in 2015 for plotting to kill President Paul Kagame.
Reuters quoted Justice Minister Johnston Businge as saying that “There is nothing political about her (Ingabire) release, there is nothing political about her imprisonment.”
“The president has granted mercy, and under the constitution, he is allowed to do that,” he added.
Cabinet today approved the early release of 2,140 eligible convicts. Among them are Kizito Mihigo and Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, who received a Presidential commutation of the remainder of their sentences, following their most recent requests for clemency in June 2018.
— Ministry of Justice (@Rwanda_Justice) September 14, 2018
Who is Ingabire?
Ingabire was jailed for 15 years in 2012. She was accused of conspiring to form an armed group to undermine the government.
Ingabire was also accused of seeking to minimize the 1994 genocide. She was stopped from contesting the presidential election in January 2010 due to this charge.
Her lawyer, Gatera Gashabana told Reuters that “Since the beginning of the trial we have been requesting her release and now that she is going to be free, we are all happy.”
There are other prominent political prisoners still languishing in jail. Paul Kagame has been lauded for transforming Rwanda’s economy. He also gets accused of shutting down his political opponents and critics.