Catholic cult members appear before court over incitement

High Court yesterday heard the case involving members of Intwarane za Yezu na Maria, a sect comprising members of the Catholic Church who were arrested last year.

High Court yesterday heard the case involving members of Intwarane za Yezu na Maria, a sect comprising members of the Catholic Church who were arrested last year.

The suspects are accused of staging illegal protests and spreading rumours with intent to incite the public against the state.

 At the time of their arrest in July, last year, the group of 10 was marching in downtown Kigali, declaring that there was going to be bloodshed in the country.

During the hearing yesterday, both prosecution and defence presented their witnesses, but the witnesses for the prosecution requested to be heard in camera.

According to prosecutors, their three witnesses were called in to testify that the suspects, whose sect is based in Muhima, a city suburb, had for years been spreading the same message.

Prosecution also charged the suspects for staging protests without prior authorisation from the police.

They deny all charges.  

The three defence witnesses told court that they knew the suspects only as catholics who met for prayers every Tuesday and Friday of the week.

“When this group started, I was not around but I came to know about them two years  ago. They were good people and lived at peace with their neighbours,” one witness, Alphonse Twamugabo, who lives near the group’s working premises in Muhima, told court.

The judge adjourned the trial to September 12, after the judicial recess.

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