Court of Appeal hears Rusagara, Byabagamba appeals

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Col Tom Byabagamba and Rtd Brig Gen Frank Rusagara who were handed jail terms for inciting the public against government and the country’s leadership, were in the Court of Appeal in Kigali on Wednesday, where they are asking court to overturn their 2016 convictions.

The two along with Rtd Sgt Francois Kabayiza, former Rusagara’s driver were sentenced by the Military High Court in Kigali.

Byabagamba had been handed 21-year jail term after court convicted him of tarnishing the image of the state, public insurrection, illegal possession of firearms and contempt among other counts, while Rusagara had been handed 20-year jail term after court found him guilty of inciting public insurrection and illegal possession of firearms.

Kabayiza had been sentenced to five years over concealing objects which were used or meant to commit an offence.

In Wednesday’s Appeals Court hearing, the officers prayed court to grant them bail pending its ruling, citing their ill health, a request contested by military prosecution.

Court set May 31 to first pronounce itself on their bail applications.
Rusagara retired from the army in 2013 and then served as Rwanda’s Defense Attaché to the United Kingdom. Byabagamba is former head of Presidential guard brigade.

During the military court hearing, prosecution had told court that Rusagara had told various high ranking serving military officers that their Commander in Chief was ‘finished.’

He also reportedly praised negative forces against Rwandan government.

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