Exiled former Rwandan top officials handed jail terms

Friday January 14 2011

Kigali, Friday

A Rwandan military court on Friday handed jail terms of between 20 and 24 years to four former comrades-in-arms of President Paul Kagame, tried in absentia for threatening state security.

“The Military High Court has sentenced to 24 years in prison the former army chief of staff General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa and Major Theogene Rudasingwa,” a court official said.

Former spy chief Patrick Karegeya and Gerald Gahima, the former attorney general and Rudasingwa’s brother “were both handed terms of 20 years”, the official said, requesting not to be identified.

Nyamwasa and Karegeya are in exile in South Africa while Gahima and Rudasingwa are exiled in the United States.

The four were being prosecuted for “disturbing public order, threatening state security, making insulting and defamatory remarks, sectarianism and criminal conspiracy.”

Nyamwasa and Rudasingwa were also charged with desertion from the army. Karegeya and Gahima were tried as civilians. Under Rwandan law if military personnel conspire with civilians to commit a crime, the civilians are also tried in a military court. Rwanda’s military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jill Rutaremara told AFP that further charges against the four will follow. (AFP)