The High Court in Kigali has sentenced singer Kizito Mihigo to 10 years in jail for crimes ranging from conspiracy to murder and formation of a criminal gang.
The court, however, acquitted one of the three co-accused and handed others various sentences.
“The court did not find sufficient proof implicating Kizito on the crime of complicity in a terrorist act. He is guilty on the crimes of formation of a criminal gang, conspiracy against the established government or the President of the Republic and conspiracy to murder,” said Judge Claire Bukuba.
“Prosecution had asked for a life sentence for Kizito, but considering that he pleaded guilty and prayed for pardon, the court has reduced his sentence to 10 years.”
The court found Agnès Niyibizi not guilty on all the three charges levelled against her and acquitted her.
Mihigo and Cassien Ntamuhanga, a journalist with Amazing Grace Radio, were separately charged with conspiracy to murder.
“Ntamuhanga is guilty of formation of a criminal gang, conspiracy against the established government or the President of the Republic and complicity in a terrorist act but not guilty on the crime of conspiracy to murder. The court sentences him to 25 years in jail,” said Judge Bukuba.
Jean-Paul Dukuzumuremyi, a former soldier, was sentenced to 30 years in jail mainly on recidivism (habitual relapse into crime) considering that he had previously been charged with similar crimes while still in the military.
During trial, Mihigo pleaded guilty and also detailed circumstances under which he committed the crimes.
Evidence presented in court against Mihigo include WhatsApp and Skype (social media) conversations he had with Callixte Nsabimana, an RNC (Rwanda National Congress) official, where the two discussed plans of overthrowing the government by use of violence.
Prosecution said they plotted to assassinate government and security officials.
Mihigo had agreed to mobilise the youth and form a group to be called “New Generation for Revolution” that would operate from Tanzania, while he was to fly to Europe where he would make a declaration calling for an uprising in Rwanda.
Kizito admitted to working with the FDLR, a terrorist group based in DR Congo, RNC, a South Africa-based organisation founded by Rwandan fugitives. Both FDLR and RNC have been linked to a series grenade attacks in the country.
When he joined, Kizito was assigned the task of mobilising and recruiting fellow youth into the terrorist organisations.
Dukuzumuremyi was charged with coordinating terror attacks.
Upon his arrest, Dukuzumuremyi was found in possession of six hand grenades which, according to Police, were to be used in attacks. His reward was Rwf3 million of which he had received an upfront payment of Rwf300,000.Follow https://twitter.com/EdwinMusoni