Image via WikipediaKIGALI — A Rwandan court has opened the trial of an opposition leader accused of recruiting fighters to destabilise the government, his lawyer said Tuesday.
Deo Mushayidi, a former member of President Paul Kagame's ruling party, was arrested in March in neighbouring Burundi and handed over to Rwandan authorities. His trial began on Monday.
Mushayidi's lawyer, Protais Mutembe, said his client was also charged of collaborating with a terrorist group, spreading rumours to cause civil disobedience, using a fake passport and promoting genocide ideology.
"The prosecutor presented all manner of evidence which we refuted. The case has been adjourned to August 23," Mutembe said.
Mushayidi, who heads the Pact for the Defence of the People, a party based in exile, has denied the charges, admitting only that he has been travelling on a Burundian passport since 2006.
Rwanda is holding its presidential elections on August 9. The run up to the vote has seen the government come under accusations from rights groups that it is restricting media and political freedoms.
Kagame, who has ruled Rwanda since the end of the 1994 genocide, is widely expected to secure a new term next month.