Seven Rwandans acquitted by Uganda military court

On 8 January 2020 at 02:28

A Uganda military court based in Makindye, a Kampala suburb, has released seven Rwandans who were incarcerated on alleged charges of espionage for Rwanda.

The verdict was pronounced Tuesday morning, January 7th, 2020 after finding them innocent of alleged different crimes including illegal possession of firearms.

General Court Martial Chairman, Lt. Gen. Andrew Gutti said that the suspects were acquitted as they have all been found innocent.

Among the Rwandans who were released are; Bahati Mugenga, Emmanuel Rwamuco, Augustine Rutisiri, Etienne Nsanzabahizi, Charles Byaruhanga, Claude Iyakaleme and Rutagungira René who was the first Rwandan to be abducted from a bar by Ugandan authorities on August 7th, 2017.

After he was arrested, Rutangungira was subjected to torture with machines that leave no physical marks including stun belts, a method of torture that Uganda’s Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) has been using for so long.

There was however no judgment read before court giving facts and omissions that were considered before acquitting the 7 Rwandans of their alleged crimes.

Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Uganda, Frank Mugambage told IGIHE that he had no further information on the case since their release was not communicated in advance.

The state minister in the Ministry of foreign affairs, Olivier Nduhungirehe showed gratitude for the release of the seven innocent Rwandans but told the media that there are many other Rwandans still under captivity in Uganda. He said that what the Government of Rwanda wishes is for Rwandans being held unjustly to be immediately released.

The verdict is pronounced a few days after President Kaguta Museveni of Uganda sent special envoy, Ambassador Adonia Ayebare with a message to President Paul Kagame where the office of the president said the new developments in the Rwanda-Uganda conflict gave hope.

In a message he posted on his Twitter account towards the end of 2019, President Museveni said “Ambassador Ayebare was well received by His Excellency Paul Kagame and they had very fruitful discussions. Soon, the two sides will be taking decisive actions to end the tension. Uganda, I can guarantee, will do its share of the normalization of the relations between our two countries. I salute H.E Paul Kagame, the brotherly people of Rwanda and the people of Uganda.”

In a recent interview with Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA), President Kagame said that Ambassador Ayebare was in Rwanda with the aim of finding common ground and solutions to the Rwanda-Uganda conflict but that what matters the most apart from discussions, is the implementation of resolutions.

Rwanda has been reproaching Uganda of arresting Rwandan citizens unjustly, torturing them and leaving some of them impaired for life. Uganda was also accused of supporting anti-Rwanda militias and terrorist groups including RNC and FDLR.

Since September last year, more than 100 Rwandans were chased from Uganda and 588 in total since the beginning of 2019.

Since January 2018, 1438 Rwandans were permanently chased from Uganda by Uganda’s CMI and the Internal Security Organisation (ISO) of Uganda.

A Uganda military court based in Makindye, a Kampala suburb, has released seven Rwandans who were incarcerated on alleged charges of espionage for Rwanda.