Mihigo dismisses lawyers over guilty plea

The trial of musician Kizito Mihigo and three others, all charged with terrorism, took a new twist yesterday when the singer suddenly requested the court to allow him terminate the services of his defence team.
Kizito arrives at the High Court in Kigali on September 14. (File)
Kizito arrives at the High Court in Kigali on September 14. (File)

The trial of musician Kizito Mihigo and three others, all charged with terrorism, took a new twist yesterday when the singer suddenly requested the court to allow him terminate the services of his defence team.

Appearing before the High Court in Kigali, Mihigo told the judges that he opted to stand trial without counsel, saying his lawyers were complicating the trial.

Mihigo’s lawyers Felix Musore and John Bigarama, had during the previous hearing argued that their client was innocent but the former insisted he was guilty and asked for forgiveness.

“I would like to know if I am allowed to terminate the services of my lawyers,” Mihigo asked.

Asked  the reasons for his request, he said: “I pleaded guilty from the beginning, but my lawyers have decided to argue otherwise.”

He appeared in court with a written submission which he handed to the judge and asked that the submissions made by his lawyers be considered as secondary.

Bigarama, who had showed up in court yesterday, said he was surprised– before he could  walk out of the court room.

Mihigo who, early this month, pleaded guilty to all five charges levelled against him, is jointly on trial with Cassien Ntamuhanga, a former journalist with Amazing Grace Radio, Jean-Paul Dukuzumuremyi, a demobilised soldier, and Agnès Niyibizi. Mihigo’s co-accused pleaded not guilty

They are charged with forming a criminal gang, aiding the formation of a criminal gang, conspiracy against the established government or the President of the Republic, complicity in a terrorist act, murder and conspiracy to murder. Their trial resumes on December 12.

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