Ruling in Lt Mutabazi terror trial set for tomorrow

The Military High Court will tomorrow, August 29, deliver its verdict in the trial involving Lt Joel Mutabazi and 15 others accused of terrorism and treason among other charges.

The Military High Court will tomorrow, August 29, deliver its verdict in the trial involving Lt Joel Mutabazi and 15 others accused of terrorism and treason among other charges.

Prosecution is seeking a life sentence for Mutabazi and varying sentences for the others who include suspected operatives of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and students formerly at the National University of Rwanda.

The sentences sought range from life to 20 years of imprisonment.

Mutabazi, whose trial opened in substance in January this year, was indicted on charges of "terrorism, setting up an armed group, spreading rumours with the intention of inciting the public to rise up against the state, murder, crimes against the state and illegal possession of a firearm," as stated by Prosecution.

While reading the closing submission last month, Prosecutor Faustin Nzakamwita referred to the charges as serious crimes – a basis for him to request for a life sentence for Mutabazi, a former officer in the presidential guard.

However, Mutabazi pleaded not guilty on all charges and during the trial refused to testify in court, instead protested his innocence.

Prosecution linked him and 15 other co-accused to a spate of grenade attacks carried out in the country last year, which it said were masterminded by the accused working under the direction of the Rwanda National Congress (RNC) and FDLR.

It was also requested by prosecutors that Mutabazi, who is also accused of deserting the armed forces, be stripped of his military rank.

 

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