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Col Tom Byabagamba and Co-accused Found Guilty, Harshly Sentenced to Jail

The Military High Court today ruled on the criminal cases that have been going on against Col Tom Byabagamba, Brig Gen (Rtd) Frank Kanyambo Rusagara and Sgt (Rtd) Kabayiza François. All the accused were found guilty and sentenced.

Col Tom Byabagamba was found guilty for deliberately tarnishing the image of the country, inciting insurrection, concealing criminal items and disrespecting the national flag. The Court sentenced him to twenty one (21) years of imprisonment and to be stripped off his military rank.

The Military Court found Brig Gen (Rtd) Rusagara guilty for the crimes of inciting insurrection, tarnishing the image of the country, concealing illegally obtained criminal items (pistol guns). He was sentenced to twenty (20) years of imprisonment.

Rusagara and Col. Byabagamba recently.

Rusagara’s long serving driver, Sgt (Rtd) Kabayiza François was like his co-accused found guilty for concealing objects related to a crime, contrary to Article 327 of the Penal Code. The Court sentenced Kabayiza to five (5) years and ordered him to pay a fine of 500,000 Rwandan francs.

Article 463 of the Penal Code provides that, “Any person who, by speeches held in meetings or public places, or writings, images or emblems, any posters, sold or on sale or displayed to the public, knowingly spreads rumours, excites the population against established Government, or incites or attempts to incite citizens against each other or attempts to alarm the population with intention to cause trouble on the national territory of the Republic of Rwanda, shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of ten (10) years to fifteen (15) years.”

Col Tom Byabagamba and his wife.

Article 660 of the Penal Code criminalizes tarnishing the image of the Country or the Government, in these terms: “Any authority who commits an act aimed at tarnishing the image of the Country or the Government, shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of three (3) years to five (5) years and a fine of one million (1,000,000) to five million (5,000,000) Rwandan francs.”

The Penal Code (Article 671) provides the punishment for possessing, selling, and manufacturing, falsification of identification marks, distribution and importing arms.

All court hearings and the verdict delivering were open to the public without any restriction whatsoever.

The three co-accused and their lawyers declared that they were unhappy with the Court’s ruling, and consequently decided to appeal against it before the Supreme Court as provided by the Law.

By Robert Muriisa via RDF.

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