American congressional lawmakers push the Rwandan government against Diane Rwigara's arrest of dissident politics, facing up to 22 years in prison after being convicted of instigating rebellion and counterfeiting.
Diane Rwigara, a former presidential candidate, is due to be sentenced on December 6 along with Adeline Rwigara's mother. Both women were tested on November 7, older Rwigara was sentenced for rebellion and supported ethnic hatred. They were detained by the police in October 2017 and were imprisoned for one year but were released on bail last month before a lawsuit. They remain at home in the capital of Kigali under travel restrictions.
"Moderate political expression is not a crime. Running for the office is not a crime," said Tom Lantos, Human Rights Commission, a bipartisan congress senator appointed by his co-founder.
The Commission, which advocates and promotes human rights on an international scale, plans on 4 December to discuss human rights and political prisoners in Rwanda, including Rwigaras.
Diane Rwigara stood for the president in 2017 to call Paul Kagame, but was disqualified after the election officials claimed that some signatures needed for her candidacy were forged.
In July 2017, the activist launched a people's salvation movement to "encourage the Rwandans to keep their government accountable," as CNN said. Later, she was arrested for charges of impunity and fraud. Her mother was also arrested because of the government's criticism of replacing WhatsApp with another relative living outside of Rwanda.
Diane Rwigara denied the indictment when she said Kagame was trying to prevent her from speaking against injustice. In an interview with VOA after her release in October, she asked for the release of political prisoners and others who were unjustly detained.
Kagame oversaw the reconciliation of the Central African country after genocide in 1994, but the rights groups have accused the ruling Rwandan patriotic front of reducing the disagreement.
This report originated in Central Africa VOA.