KIGALI, Rwanda — Rwanda’s high court on Thursday acquitted the country’s most prominent opposition figure of all charges related to her election challenge of President Paul Kagame, as judges said the prosecution failed to provide proof of insurrection and forgery.
Diane Rwigara’s case has drawn global attention as Kagame again faces pressure to give more space to critics in this East African country.
Rwigara’s mother, Adeline, 59, also was acquitted of inciting insurrection and promoting sectarianism. Both women had denied the charges.
The courtroom, packed with diplomats and supporters, erupted in applause as Diane Rwigara and her mother were overcome with tears. Excited relatives who had prayed before the hearing for protection swarmed them with hugs.
The 37-year-old Rwigara had faced 22 years in prison if convicted. She was arrested after trying to run in last year’s election, and is the rare person to publicly criticize the government from inside the country.