Court rejects terror suspects’ bail appeal

The suspects and their lawyers during a past court appearance. Photo: Igihe.com

Nyarugenge Intermediate Court has rejected a bail appeal filed by four men suspected of plotting terror activities on Rwandan territory through an Islamic fundamentalist movement.

Amran Rumanzi, Abdalla Kabendera, Yazid Nizeyimana, Ibrahim Rurangwa, and Justin Omar Uwimana are said to have conducted research, held meetings and discussions about the Hizb ut-Tahrir (translated as Party of Liberation).

The outfit is a movement of Muslim fundamentalists bent on “liberating” itself from governments and establishing an Islamic State governed in accordance with Islamic principles.

The quartet is part of a group of five that were earlier remanded by Kicukiro Primary Court on charges of plotting against an established government, terrorism and conspiracy to commit terrorism.

The Hizb ut-Tahrir describes itself as an international pan-Islamic political organisation with an aim of re-establishment of an Islamic caliphate to resume Islamic ways of life in the Muslim world.

All but Rurangwa appealed against their remand.

Appearing in court last week, the suspects told the court that the terror crimes they are being prosecuted for are not connected with the activities they were engaged in.

One of their lawyers mainly argued that the Hizb ut-Tahrir is a non-violent movement which only teaches Islamic principles and it should not be described as a terror organisation.

The lawyer referred to a study by David Anderson an expert in counter-terrorism and submitted to the United Nations. According to the suspects’ lawyer, Anderson’s research listed a number of terror organisations in the world but it did not include the Hizb ut-Tahrir among them.

“Now, what does the prosecution base on to link our clients to terrorism?” he asked.

The lawyers also argued that their clients should not be prosecuted for a research they did on internet since people are free to carry out their research without restraint.

According to prosecution, Amran Rumanzi carried out research on the Hizb ut-Tahrir movement, and later made a plan of implementing its principles by holding covert one-on-one sensitisations, communal gatherings with the aim of toppling the government as a result of the dialogues.

Prosecution, however, weighed in on the other crimes that the suspects are being charged with.

“If the movement aims at establishing an Islamic state, doesn’t that mean that it requires them to first eliminate the current leadership?” the prosecutor wondered.

He argued that the secrecy in which the meetings of the movement were being held also showed that it was something negative to the Government.

He said the suspects used to tell people during their meetings to switch off their phones and remove the batteries so that they avoid being tapped by the government satellites.

Pronouncing the court’s verdict yesterday, the presiding judge said that the decision that the appeal of the suspects does not have basis and decided to uphold the primary court’s decision to remand them as the case continues in substance.

hkuteesa@newtimesrwanda.com

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