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Rwanda high court rejects opposition leader's appeal

Rwanda's Supreme Court [official website] on Friday rejected an appeal by opposition leader Bernard Ntaganda, who was charged under the country's anti-genocide ideology laws. Ntaganda, a former leader of the country's PS-Imberakuri [party website] party, was arrested in July 2010 and convicted in February 2011 of endangering national security, encouraging an ethnic divide and attempting to organize demonstrations. He has denied all the charges but was sentenced to four years in prison. Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] called [press release] Friday's decision, "a blow for those who had hoped the Court might protect free speech."

Ntaganda is the third opposition leader to be charged under Rwanda's anti-genocide laws. Deogratius Mushayidi is serving a life sentence for plotting to overthrow Kagame's government. Last week, the Rwandan high court ruled that the case against opposition leader Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza [campaign website; JURIST news archive] will continue [JURIST report] despite her refusal to attend further proceedings. Ingabire has been subject to multiple arrests since returning to Rwanda in January 2010 after being exiled for 16 years. In October of that year Ingabire was arrested [JURIST report] on charges of being involved in the formation of a terrorist organization. Ingabire was previously arrested [JURIST report] in April 2010 for allegedly denying the Rwandan genocide.

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