Rwanda’s President Kagame has pardoned over 2000 prisoners including one of his political opponents -presidential aspirant Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza and musician Kizito Mihigo.
A government statement released Friday 14 September reads: “The Cabinet meeting chaired by President Paul Kagame today approved the early release of 2,140 convicts found eligible under relevant provisions of law. Among them are Mr Kizito Mihigo and Ms Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, the remainder of whose sentences were commuted by Presidential prerogative following their most recent applications for clemency in June this year.”
Articles 245 and 246 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Law No. 30/2013 of 24/5/2013) provide for the release on parole of a convict who has served at least one-third of a sentence of less than 5 years, or two-thirds of a sentence greater than 5 years (or at least 20 years in the case of a life sentence), provided at least one of the following conditions is met: (1) He or she sufficiently demonstrates good behaviour and gives serious pledges of social rehabilitation; (2) He or she suffers from serious and incurable disease approved by a medical committee composed of at least three recognised doctors.
Article 109 of the Constitution of Rwanda states: “The President of the Republic has the authority to exercise the prerogative of mercy in accordance with the procedures provided for by law and after consultation with the Supreme Court.”
Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza was sentenced by 15 years in 2013 by the Supreme Court, while Mr Mihigo was sentenced 10 years in 2015 by the High Court.
It is not immediately clear if another female presidential candidate Diane Rwigara and her co-accused, in detention since 2017 are among those pardoned.
The statement further lists the distribution of convicts to be released by region as such:
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